LSD in Las Vegas

Vegas doesn’t suck.  There is a lot of good stuff here — great people, good food.  But as I’ve written in the past, it’s not a great place to run.  That’s not even really true — I have a friend and colleague who lives here and has turned me on to some great places to run.  But none of them are close the strip, which is pretty much where all of my work takes place.

It’s the 4th week of January, and this is my third week this year in Vegas.  I was out here for CES, home for a week, and now I’m back again.  I’m doing two jobs in a row, and so I’m here for 14 days.  I’ve been trying to keep my running up, and so far it’s been fine.  A good tempo, and a 13 miler last week, but as I looked at my training plan, and wondered if I was working hard enough.  I’ve always done about 3 for a marathon, but this year I’m trying to change things around, and wrote my own training plan this year a few weeks ago.  I was worried about volume overall, and I took at look at one of Bob Glover’s training plans and he had a 20 slated for this week.  So, I thought to myself, “self, why not do a 20?”

Once I realized what I had in store, I realized I need to talk about a route.  Not because that talking about it would make it any better, but because talking about it would somehow put off the pain for longer.  I asked on facebook if anyone had any ideas of where to run in vegas, I got about 30 responses.  Only one or two of the posts could be considered running advice, but there was a lot of awesome advice. Not all of it completely practical, and much of it involving getting on a plane.

I decided to run south of the strip and then slightly east, which turned out to be great.  Quiet streets, a few other runners, and, thankfully, a friendly connivence store where I could get water and use the toilet.  Without rushing.  I’m just saying.

It was a tough one — it’s hard being alone for 3 hours or so without the internet.  I listened to audio books, podcasts, and music.  And I ran slowly.  9:46 pace.  Last year, my final 20 miler was at 8:23 pace.  But least year I wasn’t alone, I was with other people.  Runners, for example.  It’s a lot easier to run fast and long with other people.  Alone, I decided that I was doing an LSD run.  No, really, that’s a real thing — Long Slow Distance.  Click on the link.  It’s on wikipedia, so it has to be real.

If I undertand it correctly, the idea of a long slow run is to allow you to train your body to run for a long time and by running slowly you can run longer.  As you get further into the run, and you’ve depleted your glycogen stores, you teach your body to deal with the fatigue of a race and to better burn fat.  Which is all that’s left.

It seemed to work.  Well, I don’t know how much better I am at running fast, but I did feel a lot less dead after running this  20 than I ever had before.

That being said, I did what I thought was going to be an easy hour this morning, and I felt horrible.  Sluggish.  Like giving up running.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to do another dreaded 4 mile tempo.  We’ll see how I feel.  And Saturday at 6am has got to be OK in Vegas.  It’ll be quiet.  It’ll be great.  I just have to remember to run short fast distance.  SFD?  Doesn’t sound as good.

Written by Greg Cohen

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