Digital inspiration for tracksters


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Per Sunday tradition, Hawkeye track and field distance coach Layne Anderson sent out an email blast to all of his athletes. This week’s opened with a mountainous landscape captioned, “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”

“Hopefully, it opens their mind up to a different level of thinking,” Anderson said. “I always tell them that my hope is that it stimulates thought.”

Each message sent out contains some type of inspirational quote paired with pictures, a short anecdote, a longer article, or a video that relates to that week’s “motivation.”

Freshman Marta Bote Gonzalez recalled her favorite email being one that contained a video with a poem about escaping comfort zones in order to improve as an athlete. The message stuck with her so much that she even printed it and put it up on her dorm-room wall.

The content of the emails may contain anything from pictures, videos, anecdotes, or entire articles and changes from week to week, but Anderson always makes sure to include one thing: that week’s workout.

Anderson took over the coaching duties of men’s distance this year, in addition to coaching women’s distance runners. Before Anderson, former Director of Track and Field Larry Wieczorek handled the duties of training the men. Each day, Wieczorek wrote on a piece of notebook paper in pencil what the workout would be and pass it around to his athletes.

Although seniors Kevin Lewis and Ben Witt did not dislike Wieczorek’s approach, they agreed that they do like Anderson’s digital way better because they like to see what the workouts will be each day with more than a couple of minutes’ notice.

However, that is not to say they take in all of the information Anderson sends out.

“I would say more often than not, I do not read all of the email, but occasionally if it’s concise and to the point, I’ll read it,” Lewis said. “Pictures go a lot further with us. We’re simple men.”

Anderson’s emails do get read in their entirety by some of his athletes. A majority of the women’s side of the team make sure to take the time to read what their coach sent out to them.

“I think they’re great, because when you’re reading your workout and at the same time you have a story that tells you that if you take a small step every day you’ll reach your goals, then that is excellent motivation,” Bote Gonzalez said. “It helps you start the week thinking about what you want to do.”

While the context of the emails tend to have a serious underlying message, the athletes still like to have some fun with Anderson for some of the cheesy messages he throws in sometimes.

“We like to parody some of the stories during warm-ups and cool downs,” Witt said. “All in good fun, though, of course.”

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