There is good reason to use ice baths during the final two-day meet of the year. After the first day of competition, an ice bath can decrease inflammation and help the athlete come back and run well the next day. Yet an ice bath may not make sense for three consecutive weeks of meets, as the inflammation associated with racing is in some ways a good thing.
For athletes who may or may not advance to the next meet, I’d have them do the ice bath between the competition days. Better to have them take an ice bath the week of the qualifying meet for state and make it to state, rather than not.
Switching gears, many athletes at this time of year want to run PRs — and that’s great — that’s what you want as well.
It’s worth reminding your athletes that when they’re running against good competition, they simply need to compete and do their best to beat as many good runners as possible. Even if the weather is less than ideal, HS athletes often run PRs this time of year because of the parity of the competition. Simply focusing on the competition and beating as many people as possible will often mean having to run a PR to advance to the next week.
Example: a 2:20 800m runner will be in a race with a lot girls with PRs between 2:16 and 2:22 and that’s a great opportunity for her to run a PR, knowing that some of the 2:22 girls will go out too hard and she can pass them in the last 200m of the race (if not earlier).
I wish you the best this weekend and in the coming weeks. If you have a question or comment, I’d love to hear from you — just respond to this email.