Cruise intervals in Phoenix

I’ve spent the last few days in Phoenix, actually had an extra day as my flight was cancelled due to some sort of snow fall in New York.  I am not a lover of cold weather running, so it was great to have another day to be in shorts and a tee shirt.

My job took me to the JW Marriott Desert Ridge.  Alas, as a crew member, I was value engineered into another hotel, the Canyon Villas.  The hotel, while not a crack house, was very medium.  I had a very odd room, quite small.  No desk.  It was quiet, which is nice.  But it was quite small.  I had to step into the hall to change my mind.  Ha!  An old road joke, recycled.

I did fine a nice loop to do — there are some nice neighborhoods around, and the streets are open (in other words, it’s not gated like so many places in suburban Vegas, for example).  Yesterday I headed over to a local track to do some cruise intervals (my first ones ever).  I got to the track and found that there was a soccer game going on with quite a few spectators.  Spectators who, I imagine, had no interest in me availing myself of the track.  So I hit a quiet road, and it was fine.

McMillan has a great defnintion of the cruise interval on his website:

They […] are meant to increase your lactate threshold pace. Cruise Intervals are like shorter and slightly more intense tempo intervals. They last three to eight minutes and the pace is between 8K and 12K. Like tempo intervals, they are followed by short recovery jogs (30 seconds to 2 minutes). You’ll probably find that it’s easy to run too fast on these. The tendency is to treat them like regular long intervals. However, keep it under control and work on a smooth, fast rhythm. Control in training is key to improvement.

In my training plan, he directs that the point of the workout is to tire yourself out, to try to run the intervals evenly rather than pushing too hard at the beginning.  So, I ran them unevenly  and pushed too hard at the beginning.  Who’s better than me?  Seriously, it’s hard for me — I just don’t have the experience to know my pace or the confidence to slow down.  The running calculator says I should be running them between 4:06 and 4:12 per 1k.  I did  3:44, 3:58, 3:57, 3:59, 4:04, 4:05.  Well, at least I hit the numbers at the end.  That’s good, right?

I’ve been using the Garmin like a speedometer, looking at it throughout the interval to try to even my pace.  Clearly I need to work on that!  I’m also working on a way to try to remember what I’m supposed to do during these workouts.  Here’s two attempts.  The first involves writing on a pice of gaffer’s tape, which is a staple of my trade.  The second method involved writing on a room key, also a staple.   The room key  worked out a lot better.  The gaf tape, while easier to hold, becomes indiscernibly sweaty.

Now I’m on my way home, enjoying Delta’s inflight wifi.  Back to Phoenix again on Saturday.  Hoping the weather holds.   In both places!

Written by Greg Cohen

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