STAGING #BRIC17 training blog: Two weeks away from my first 2KM test - British Rowing

#BRIC17 training blog: Two weeks away from my first 2KM test

Sue Anstiss is competing for the first time at the British Rowing Indoor Championships, presented by Visit Sarasota County, as a way to regain her fitness. Follow her progress in her blog.


Sue Anstiss and Nicky Frobisher get an indoor rowing technique lesson.

Just two weeks to go until BRIC (gulp). We’re all getting a little more nervous in the realisation that there’s not that long left to train and improve our fitness.

Training has been going fairly well, despite a full week off at a business conference in Spain (the hotel had no rowing machines in either of its gyms!). I told myself that it was probably good to have a full weeks’ break from training and come back feeling strong.



2,000m time trial

I’ve continued with the British Rowing programme and two weeks ago did my 2,000m time trial. Instructions for setting a target 2000m time were to take the total of 4 x 500m and add 10 seconds. Reviewing my 4 x 500m session the week, before the total time was 8.17 so a target time of 8.27 and a target rate per 500m of 2:06.

I followed instructions from some rowing experts on Twitter to ‘go out hard for the first 10 stokes’ and then settle into the target pace. I probably took this a little too literally and went out too fast and found my heart rate too high after the first 500m.

I’d forgotten just how horrible 2,000m can be – especially if you go too fast in the first quarter. I managed to hang on, but there was no increasing my pace in the final 500m. Happy with my time of 8.27 (exactly as the British Rowing plan had predicted) but wondering if I could have done better if I’d paced it properly?

It has also made me realise that my target time to get under 8 minutes is just too ambitious – especially for someone who only started training for this in September. I have therefore adjusted my target for the 2000m to 8:15 which feels more realistic.


Entries for the British Rowing Indoor Championships, presented by Visit Sarasota County, are open until 29 November 2017.

Why not set yourself a challenge and sign up to the 2,000m or support Sue and other competitors, including GB rowers, as a spectator. Book your place here.

Great advice from Daisy

My middle daughter Daisy (who used to row herself) popped into the gym at the end of one of my sessions and spontaneously gave me three brilliant bits of advice having watched me row for a bit.

She said to focus on pushing through my whole foot rather than just pushing off my toes, to move the monitor up slightly which would make me keep my head up and sit tall and finally to concentrate on not letting my knees come together when I push as I am losing lots of potential power when I do. Useful stuff.



Strength training

Regular weights sessions in the gym have definitely made a massive difference in our progression. We’ve stuck with the six core exercises – primarily to drive strength and power in our legs and I’m thrilled to say that we’re now deadlifting 85kg and squatting 65kg.

We’re enjoying the weights so much we’ve even been talking about taking up Powerlifting in 2018 (along with the indoor rowing of course!).


Training at Bisham Abbey

We were lucky enough to have a fantastic training session at Bisham Abbey with Clare Holman, one of the fabulous instructors who’s been developing the British Rowing Go Row Indoor programme.

We learnt so much in just an hour. One of the biggest learnings for me was how to do a sprint start. The aim of a sprint start is to get the flywheel of the rower moving as quickly as possible. First a quarter slide, then a couple of half slides, a three-quarter slide and finally getting to the full slide. It felt so much better than going from straight from a standing start to the full stroke.

Clare also reminded me how important it was to keep sitting ‘tall’ while I row. Apparently, that will also help me to get a longer pull in – every little helps!

We also did two 500m tests. The first at moderate pace, a couple of minutes’ rest and then full out as fast as we could. I was really pleased with my time on the second 500m of 1:54.

I’m definitely looking forward to the 500m race on December 9 more than the 2,000m race…