Tempo Interval Workout in Las Vegas

Once again, I find myself in Sin City for a project.  I’ve been out here in the desert for a week, now on the backend of a family vacation, and of course I’m loving the weather.  However, running here is a constant chore, at least close to the strip.

Yesterday I was slated by McMillian to do Tempo Intervals.  Two very reasonable words when put together seem to result in misery.

Listen, I love a good tempo run as much as the next guy.  I like the idea of sustained effort, and I think it’s a great pre-maraton way to run longer at a faster pace without the stress of  a race.  But these tempo intervals?   I guess the point is to push the pace harder, so it’s more like an interval, and then have a recovery period, again like an interval.  However, the “on” part of the interval is way longer than I’d usually do.  For example, I did 800m intervals a lot last summer, and then “enjoyed” some 1600m ones closer to my fall marathon.  These tempo intervals were 2k with a 2:30 recovery and I tried to run them at around 4:18/k or 8:36 per 2k, which is about 10 seconds faster than my usual tempo pace.

McMillian has, as always, a great definition of this workout on his site:

Tempo Intervals are like fast tempo runs broken into two to four repeats with relatively short recovery jogs. The appropriate race paces for tempo intervals are 10K to 15K race pace and they should last between eight and fifteen minutes. […] Tempo Intervals are the first workouts to allow for a recovery jog between hard efforts. In this case, you jog two to five minutes between each repeat then start the next one.

It was rough.  I did it on the road rather than at a track (I can’t even imagine where the closest track is to the MGM Grand!), and the uneven surface made it hard to really push it.  Also, mentally I find it hard to push on these longer intervals.  It’s almost as if a tempo run is easier than a tempo interval, because I can concentrate on pace throughout rather than doing an hard / recovery regiment.

There were plenty of the usual distractions, such as police activity and traffic lights.  Long traffic lights.  Viva Las Vegas.

I wound up doing up doing 8:34, 8:47, 8:36, 8:28 and I think 8:30 — I messed up my watch trying to set it up for the 3 @ 200m sprints that McMillian throws onto the end.  The second interval was a mess — a long traffic light meant a full stop, and there were about four cops surrounding a bicycle.  No idea why.  Maybe they were doing a workout as well.

Written by Greg Cohen

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