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)

 Location of Jackson Field Track (click to enlarge)

Location of Jackson Field Track (click to enlarge)

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.

 Emily and Matt on Jackson Field Track

Emily and Matt on Jackson Field Track

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.

 Shovelling snow off the track in the spring is also a way to warm-up.

Shovelling snow off the track in the spring is also a way to warm-up.

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.

 Using an orange cone as an aiming point.

Using an orange cone as an aiming point.

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).

 Looking west towards the dirt track just past the RCMP Detachment.

Looking west towards the dirt track just past the RCMP Detachment.

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.)

 This is the 200m mark

This is the 200m mark

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: 

  1. 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
  2. 8 x 1km @ 10k pace with 60 seconds easy recovery (I usually do 200m easy recovery to get back to my start point)
  3. 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.
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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!