Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Indoor Winter Training at the Pettit Center

I frequently find myself back in Milwaukee visiting during winter, but running in Wisconsin during the winter can be dicey, between the cold and the possibility of treacherous, slippery ice.  I’m normally not one to shy away from running in harsh conditions, but what’s a runner to do when training for a marathon and you want to get a quality workout?

Closest I will ever get to the Olympics?

Local Wisconsin runners know to head to the Pettit National Ice Training Center, a US Olympic Training Center designed for speed skaters.  What makes this a good place to run is that the center has an indoor two-lane running/walking track around the outside of the skating area.  This is a great alternative when it’s below freezing outside, or the roads haven’t been plowed.  It’s still relatively chilly inside (this is a skating rink, after all) but it can be a lot more pleasant than the alternative.  The track is an odd distance (443 meters, or about 3.6 laps per mile) so I always end up doing a lot math while I’m there to figure out just how far and how fast I’m running.  There’s also a Zamboni crossing (!) on one of the straightaways.

On my latest visit to Wisconsin I needed to do my last long run building up to the upcoming Napa Marathon, so I planned a trip to the Pettit Center.  By my calculations my 23-mile run required 84 laps of the track, which sounds worse than it actually ended up being.  I had my iPod to keep me company and got to watch the skaters on the inside of the track during every lap.  I was pretty happy with my workout, and managed to keep all my laps in the range I was hoping for (1:52-1:54/lap)

I’ve heard they organize an indoor marathon on this track. I've never run it, but my biggest worry would be how crowded the track would get, since it’s only two lanes wide.  That would be almost 100 laps of calling out “on your left!”

No comments: