By Megan Horst-Hatch
For runners, walkers and cyclists, Chicago’s winters pose a difficult question. What’s a dedicated athlete to do when the weather brings snow, ice or sharp winds? Luckily, the Chicagoland area has a number of facilities with indoor tracks for athletes to continue training despite freezing temperatures and knee-high snow drifts. The following are some of the indoor tracks in the area.
5157 N. Francisco Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Are you looking for an indoor track in the Lincoln Square neighborhood? Galter LifeCenter has you covered, literally, with its indoor track measuring one-twelfth of a mile. According to Galter, the fitness center is the first and only certified medical fitness center in Illinois and also partners with medical professionals from Swedish Covenant Hospital. Walkers and runners looking to condition during the winter can also use the fitness center’s cardiovascular equipment, weights and stretching areas. Free parking is available for members and the fitness center also has on-site childcare services.
East Bank Club
500 N. Kingsbury St.
Chicago, IL 60654
For runners and walkers looking for an indoor track with a view, consider the East Bank Club. Its quarter-mile, indoor, two-lane track features views of Chicago’s skyline as well as spots for stretching and conditioning. The club also offers programs for helping runners get into peak condition prior to race day with track workouts to help runners work on race pacing, speed and efficiency and marathon training programs to prepare runners for the Chicago Marathon. These workouts are an extra charge and are open to runners of all levels. East Bank Club also offers cardiovascular equipment for athletes interested in cross-training, kayaking and pilates. On-site childcare is also available.
Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center
2235 N. Sheffield Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Located on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus, the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center, or “the Ray,” has an eighth-mile banked indoor jogging track that received a facelift in its track surface earlier this fall. In addition to the indoor track, the Ray has instructional classes for yoga, pilates, martial arts and safety training. Other amenities include an indoor swimming pool, massage therapy, racquetball courts, weights and a variety of cardiovascular equipment. Membership is open to current students, faculty, staff and alumni of DePaul. In addition, membership is open to the community for anyone age 16 or older who does not have an affiliation with the university.
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
1250 W. 119th St.
Chicago, IL 60643
Located in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood, the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center includes an indoor track for runners and walkers staying in shape over the winter. Other amenities include an indoor swimming pool and water park, a fitness center to lift weights or run on treadmills and an on-site childcare center. Anyone wishing to join the Kroc Center must complete a membership application.
Chicago Velo Campus
8615 S. Burley Ave.
Chicago, IL 60617
What’s a cyclist to do when the weather turns bitter cold? The Chicago Velo Campus in Chicago’s South Side aims to provide a place for cyclists to continue training throughout the off season. The outdoor track will be open through the winter, except during inclement weather. An indoor conditioning facility is also on site for cyclists to work on technique and racing skills, as well as a wind tunnel facility, triathlon training center, indoor running track and coaching and education center. A variety of programs are available for cyclists at the junior and elite levels. Opened in 2011, plans are currently underway to construct an indoor complex with a wooden track that is scheduled for completion in 2014.
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Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.