By: Matt Setlack
Location: Cold Lake South in between the RCMP Detachment, the Holiday Inn and Assumption High School.
Distance: 1/4 mile (402.336m) around the inside lane
Surface: 100% rubber track (mondo'ish surface)
This is one of the nicest tracks I have ever run on and it surprises me that few people know that it even exists. It is pretty much brand new having been built around 2012 or 2013, I believe. If you wanted to run on a track like this in a big city, you would have to book it in advance and pay to use it. Jackson Field Track in Cold Lake is free, open 24/7 and is never crowded.
It is the perfect place to run fast. If you're looking for an amazing place to do intervals or even a longer tempo run with very consistent pacing, Jackson Field Track is the place to go.
Warm-up: As a warm-up, I typically run to the track from Tri-City Estates, which takes about 20 minutes. I you prefer to drive to the track, there is ample free parking all around the track. You could warm-up on the track or on the gravel Ironhorse Trail. There is also a gravel/dirt track one block west you could warm up on.
Washrooms: During the spring and summer, there is usually a porta-potty (portable toilet) located right at Jackson Field. Otherwise, you can run to McDonalds, Subway or the Library (I believe the Holiday Inn also has a washroom).
Distance: I have personally measured the very inside line of Jackson Field Track with a wheel and the distance was 402.336m (1/4 mile). I have no idea why the designer/builder would create a 1/4 mile track when the universal standard is 400m. I would be very curious to know. When I am doing km repeats here, I usually start at the 200m line, walk 6 or so paces forward and place a cone on the ground. From this cone to the start line plus two more laps around the track is approximately 1,000m. (I also have a Jones Counter if anyone would like to borrow it.)
Interval Workout Examples: I always do 20 minutes warm-up and 20 minutes warm-down. Here are some of the faster sessions that I like to do:
- 6 minutes, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 with 60 seconds easy run recovery. Start at tempo-pace in first three and work to interval-pace in last three
- 8 x 1km @ 10k pace with 60 seconds easy recovery (I usually do 200m easy recovery to get back to my start point)
- 8 to 10 of 60/40 seconds @ interval/easy-pace. I usually do this one a few days before a race just to get the fast leg turnover.
Advice: I like to bring along orange cones to place on the start line and 200m line because I find it helpful to have an object to aim for when I'm running. If I'm warming up/down on the track, I usually run around the track CCW and then do the session CW (the standard direction).
Stay tuned for Matt's Favourite Local Run #3!