We have all braced the varying impacts that COVID-19 has had on our lives. Collegiate athletes are no exception, persevering through a unique struggle of their own. IncNow has offered internships to two student-athletes during the pandemic. In addition to learning about incorporation, these athletes are now training for a Half-Ironman competition. This training has provided purpose and structure to training programs that have been stopped by the restrictions on sporting activities, especially those of club teams. IncNow is excited to sponsor these athletes’ entry fees and some of their travel expenses.
This training story offers an example of how two interns for IncNow who are members of the University of Delaware Men’s Crew have responded to the shutdown of races, practices and organized team training. Matthew Dochnal and Charley McNamara have undertaken training for an Ironman 70.3 triathlon, also known as a Half-Ironman. This particular iteration of the triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile open water swim, followed by a 56 mile bike and finishes with a 13.1 mile run. The race will be taking place on May 1, 2021 amongst the picturesque red rocks of Zion National Park in St. George, Utah.
The St. George Ironman Course
The St. George 70.3 course is revered as one of the most difficult courses in the Ironman circuit due to its atypical elevation profile. While most Ironman events take place on flat courses, St. George participants must power through over 3,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of the 56 mile bike. The competition at St. George will also be very stiff this year, as the race has been named the North American Championship for 2021. It will also serve as a qualifier for the Ironman World Championships, which takes place in Kona, Hawaii every year.
Training Together, Apart
Unfortunately, the status of the pandemic has kept Matt and Charley apart for a good portion of their training. Although apart, they collaborate to formulate and execute their own individualized training plans which target their personal weaknesses and accommodate their schedules. A base phase week for Charley will include around three 45 minute swims, three to four 60 minute bike rides, and three to four 45-60 minute long runs. Then, finally around two to three weightlifting sessions each week. Charley reports that his training has been going well, albeit a little boring, since there is no one to run or bike with and the weather has him indoors.
Matt has been doing a considerable amount more volume compared to Charley. While Charley has been on campus at the University of Delaware, Matt has been at home on Long Island, logging plenty of miles and watts on his bike. At this point, he is just always on his bike. During his base phase, Matt has been completing anywhere between 15 and 20 hours of training per week. His training often consists of 120 minute endurance sessions on the bike, tempo and threshold pace runs and typically three swims per week. Charley is preparing to finish the Half-Ironman, but Matt is gunning to do well overall.
The IncNow Connection
The fact that two of IncNow’s interns are both members of the University of Delaware Men’s Crew is no coincidence. The President of IncNow, John Williams, serves as an Assistant Coach with the program and actively seeks to enable rowers who express interest in the field of corporate law through the firm’s internship program. As restrictions continue to impact the club, John has found himself directing even more attention to the team as he assists the program’s student officers through the challenges of the pandemic.
How Student Athletes Are Handling the Pandemic
While Matt and Charley have sought motivation to remain in competitive shape, every member of the team has adopted new means in order to remain physically prepared for when rowing activities eventually resume. During the fall semester COVID-19 restrictions put in place by the University remained both restrictive and impeding. Throughout the semester, students had to make reservations in order to train in the Little Bob (Carpenter Sports Building). The reservation system proved inadequate for motivated athletes, as gym sessions were limited to only 45 minutes. In order to adapt to these unfavorable conditions and remain true to the practice of social distancing, many team members picked up road cycling in order to remain in shape.
Matt and Charley have been utilizing the social media app Strava to keep connected with each other’s workouts and hold everyone else on the team accountable. Surprisingly, the Newark Campus is good geographically for cycling. North of UD’s campus is the hilly Piedmont region which is great for building strength. Down south, the coastal plain of the Delmarva peninsula offers flat roads that are great for both developing speed or enjoying easy coffee rides with friends.
Lifting weights in the school gym has not been feasible. It is almost always crowded and it is nearly impossible to get a reservation. Thankfully, the team was invited to use the “Breaking Barriers” gym by South Campus. It is an amazing facility that the entire team is extremely grateful for and has a number of ergs, Olympic weights and squat racks. Alumnus Dan Fitzpatrick introduced us to this facility, that helps disadvantaged minorities learn teamwork and leadership skills through use of rowing machines.
Matt and Charley are hopeful that they will be able to get back on the water early this spring. As their return to the water approaches, more and more rowers have flocked back to campus. Many rowers on the team have begun transitioning away from biking and back to erging on the rowing machines to prepare for a modified season. When they return to the water, practices will consist of smaller groups of rowers, all of whom are required to wear masks. The team is incredibly excited to finally get the chance to row once again and hopefully compete.
IncNow is extremely proud of Matt and Charley’s efforts to achieve big goals during the shutdown. We wish them luck in their Half-Ironman in Utah.