Got the Winter Blues? Try These Indoor Races!

For many, the phrase "winter race" brings up thoughts of snow-covered roads, freezing temperatures, and multiple layers of clothing.   Some athletes resist signing up for these races until days before, fearing the event will be canceled by a winter storm.

Indoor races offer an opportunity to participate in race and triathlons year round without weather conditions affecting the course.  These events can help you train for a long distance event or maintain your fitness for spring races.

Just think- you'll be able to run a winter race in a singlet, in a temperature-controlled area, even though it may be snowing outside!  These indoor events often offer the same perks as outdoor races, such as a race shirt, participant medals, and place and age group awards. 

Indoor Marathons and Half Marathons


These indoor races are often held on loop courses, so participants pass a central aide station and bathrooms areas each time they go around.  Chip timing systems track how many loops runners and walkers make around the course.  Many of these races are also USATF certified.

Check out these indoor races:

Arena Attack Race Series, Hartford, CT
Arena Attack offers a marathon, marathon relay, half marathon and 5K indoors at the XL Hockey Arena. Participants run laps around the concourse level.  A DJ keeps both participants and spectators entertained.

Icebreaker Indoor Marathon and Half Marathon, Milwaukee, WI
This race includes a marathon, marathon relay, half marathon and 5K.  Participants run loops on a 443 meter track around the Pettit National Ice Center.

Photo credit: Icebreaker Indoor Marathon
Photo credit: Icebreaker Indoor Marathon



Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon, Northfield, MN
This indoor marathon is held at the Tostrud Center on the campus of St. Olaf College.  The marathon is 150 laps on their indoor running track.

ONU Polar Bear Indoor Marathon, Ada, OH
This indoor half and full marathon is held at the ONU Sports Center at the Ohio Northern University.  Marathoners complete 211 laps, and half marathons complete 105.5 laps on the indoor track (200 meters per lap).

Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon, Goshen, IN
This indoor marathon is held in the Roman Gingerich Rec/Fitness Center on the campus of Goshen College.  The marathon consists of 204 laps on the upstairs running track.  Runners change directions every 30  minutes.

Indoor Triathlons


There are several options for indoor triathlon events during the winter. These events are offered nationwide at gym facilities.  Athletes complete all three portions of a triathlon, with transition changing often taking place in the locker room.

LifeTime Fitness Indoor Tri Series, Nationwide
This indoor triathlon is offered at 83 different fitness facilities in 24 different states in January.  The Lifetime Indoor Tri events include 30 minutes of biking, a 10 minute swim, and a 20 minute run. The bike portion of the triathlon is completed on indoor bikes located in the spin studio at the event facility.

Lifetime Indoor Tri gear. Photo credit: www.fourseasonfit.com
Lifetime Indoor Tri gear. Photo credit: www.fourseasonfit.com

Indoor Triathlon USA, Nationwide
Indoor Triathlon USA hosts winter events in February and March in Portland, OR; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Coeur D’alene, ID; Denver, CO; and Chicago, IL.  These races welcome beginner and experienced triathletes.  The event distances are a 10 minute swim, 30 minute bike, and 15 minute run.  Athletes bring their own bikes for the bike portion, and they are set up on a trainer with an odometer.

Your local community recreation center, YMCA, or college/university may offer their own indoor triathlon program.  These events are great ways for new triathletes to practice for summer events, or for experienced triathletes to maintain their fitness.

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