A Day in the Life – in Athlete Lockdown with rugby union player Abby Middlebrooke


Name: Abby Middlebrooke
Studying: BTEC Sport and Exercise Science
Sport: Rugby Union


9.00am Wake up – I usually wake up very early for college so, although I want to maintain some sort of routine and be productive, I am making the most of having an extra few hours in bed!

9:30am Have breakfast (usually some fresh fruit and yoghurt or a smoothie) I try to start the day off with a healthy breakfast as it makes me feel good and energised, which can sometimes be hard when we’re having to spend the majority of the day at home. Therefore, a nice fresh and healthy breakfast is vital for me to get some energy and start the day off well.

10.00am Complete any outstanding coursework/assignments for college – I do a BTEC in Sports and Exercise Science Level 3, therefore, I still have assignments to complete in order to finish my course. Obviously as we are not attending college, it is slightly more stressful trying to meet deadlines and complete assignments as we cannot see our teachers face to face. However, my college have been very supportive and sent out PowerPoints and online lessons to help us with the assignments. The days which I do not do college work, I tend to occupy myself with a prehab session or some stretching and foam rolling to ensure my body is feeling refreshed and ready to train later on in the day.

12:30pm Make lunch (usually some sort of pasta dish or salad)

1.00pm Catch up with friends via Facetime or Zoom.

2.00pm Complete training session for the day (usually either sprints and a weight session, a continuous run and weight session, or a tempo run).I have been given various exercise programmes and session examples from coaches; however I am not following one programme exactly. I am ensuring I complete at least one of the sessions I have been provided with every day, however, I do tend to also create my own sessions in order to vary my training to make it more exciting and to hopefully optimise the benefits.

At first I was very motivated to train, however since we have been in Lockdown, I have found it increasingly harder to find the motivation to train. However, having my mum train with me has massively helped me and also I try and just look forward to the season ahead as I know if I put in the hard work now I will be one step ahead.

Fortunately, I have a garage with a lot of gym equipment in so I have been using the treadmill a lot and also making the most out of any weights and equipment I have in order to make my sessions as “normal” as possible. I know a lot of people don’t have access to gym equipment, I am very lucky. I don’t have to improvise with equipment too much as I have the basic equipment I need, however I don’t have access to many heavy weights so am having to adapt my programme to try and optimise my potential using lighter weights.

I am trying to keep in touch with teammates as much as I can, for example, I Facetime a lot of my teammates most days and we also try and organise Zoom calls so that we can all catch up together. For me, it’s really important to socialise with my friends as it brings back a small sense of reality and it’s nice to speak to other people, and see what they have been getting up to, as well as just my family.

4.00pm Skills session/ IDP session (this could consist of handling practice, or completing fun challenges that I have been set, such as juggling or learning to do a handstand).

4:30pm Shower/ bath to relax and recover from the training session. I like to use this time to relax and pamper myself before getting on with more work or chilling with my family as it improves my mental and physical well-being and it also implements routine into my day.

5:30pm Complete any rugby work I have been set or any college work I need to do.

6:30pm Have dinner with my family.

7.00pm After dinner, I usually spend my evening chatting to friends or relaxing with my family. Sometimes we will all watch a film or play games together, or I will just use this time to relax on my own in my bedroom and have some time to myself. However, if I have a lot of course work to complete, I will spend about an hour or so completing that. I think it’s really important during this manic period, to take time to completely chill out and unwind both individually and with your family as it is the perfect opportunity to work on my mental health and state of mind. If I am relaxing on my own, I often listen to music as it helps me to feel at ease.

10.00pm At roughly 10pm, I will be in bed and preparing myself for sleeping. Sometimes I use meditation or breathing techniques to help me fall asleep if I am having difficulty.