It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in a running rut, training for a marathon or half marathon, looking to improve, or excited take up a new hobby: A week—or even a weekend—at a running camp can take your fitness to the next level. Not convinced? Running camps have been around since the 70s, and, like the sport itself, have only grown in popularity in recent years. That’s because—with a great pair of shoes-—it can be done anywhere, with anyone, or even all by yourself.
Just because you can run alone, though, doesn’t mean that you always should. Running camps for adults are a great way to meet like-minded fitness enthusiasts who are looking for a way to improve. The best news: You don’t necessarily need to be a crazy-strong runner in order to enjoy yourself at an adult running camp.
Ready to plan an adult running camp trip of your own? These seven camps will help you fine-tune your skill and bring out your best running self.
You’ll be training on other-worldly terrain at this Colorado-based camp in the San Juan Mountains, which was designed with trail and ultra-runners in mind. But you needn’t have previous experience in either (or be able to run that far) to feel welcome on one of their five-day retreats: High altitude training is a good idea for those chasing PRs, as well as runners who just want to improve their endurance for an upcoming destination race. The coaches, Jeff “Bronco Billy” Browning and Krissy Moehl, are both ultra-runners who boast formidable resumes: They’ll host clinics on fancy-sounding things like Optimized Fat Metabolism and mental strategies for race day. Fill your bag with all sorts of workout clothes, because when you’re not running, you’ll enjoy yoga and bodyweight fitness routines (meaning yes: you should probaby plan for the sweat with some antimicrobial packing organizers), and refuel with delicious organic meals. All paces welcome; minimum mileage of 35 miles/week recommended.
If you never went to camp as a kid, but are eager to experience it as an adult, Craftsbury Running Camp is the right fit for you. Located in the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, a four-season resort in picturesque Vermont, the camp offers well-balanced weeklong packages featuring kayaking and swimming, in addition to guided interval and cross-country workouts. The packages cater to a variety of age groups ranging from teens to masters, and fun social activities such as visits to local general stores, ice cream socials, and swimming in Lake Willoughby.
If you love the act of running but don’t give much thought to how you actually do it, this four-day retreat will transform you into the best version of your running self. While the actual mileage you’ll run is limited—the program is built around the Run Less, Run Faster philosophy—you’ll leave armed with a wealth of information to use as you prepare for your next race, such as a VO2 max, lactate profile, body composition, a personalized training plan, and professional gait analysis.
Sure, it’s fun to train and race with men. But sometimes, it’s nice to make time to reconnect with women, and discover the reasons why running offers such balance in our lives. The team at Run Wild Retreats gets that: Their four- or seven-day workshops are capped at 16 participants, and focus on how to practice mindfulness, self-compassion, and self-care, even when you’re not on the run. The retreats are offered in three levels and in picturesque locales such as Moab, UT. If you’re up for international travel, try one in Iceland, Spain, Ireland, or Italy.
Like Colorado Running Ranch, this camp also hosts retreats in the mountains of San Juan (as well as Telluride). However, you’ll thank yourself for choosing one one of their multi-day packages in a more picturesque, South American setting: Running against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains of the Andes mountains is unforgettable. The Santa Cruz Trail Adventure is one of the most unforgettable, and takes you past alpine meadows and crystalline lakes of the Cordillera Blanca.
Located in Tahoe’s picturesque Olympic Valley, this camp is the perfect choice for trail running beginners who want to educate themselves about outdoor etiquette while pounding the dirt. Led by ultrarunner Max King—who boasts an impressive race resume and a wealth of trail stewardship skills—the camp welcomes runners of all ages and abilities. You’ll learn about wilderness preparation, trail etiquette, map reading, and compass use, while running 30-50 miles at your own pace. The option to take a dip in the alpine lakes nearby is a refreshing bonus. Pack for your time on the trails by bringing a convenient waistpack to stash your snacks, maps, and compasss for the run.
Head to Europe for some gorgeous destination runs. Whether you’re looking to prepare for your next ultra or just learn about trail running in an international setting, the Trail Running Factory can provide the education and inspiration you’re looking for. The best part: Your only fitness prerequisite is a love of the outdoors and a desire to spend more time in the mountains. Choose from one of five camps: Gran Canaria, Lavaredo, Mont Blanc, Julbo TRF, or the Eiger Ultra.
No matter what running vacation you choose, it pays to travel light! Check out more packing tips to get you out the door in our ultimate travel packing list.
Pack-It Active Essential Set
Cargo Hauler Duffel 60L (M)
Wayfinder Waistpack (M)
Related Links (from Eagle Creek Blog)
The Best Places to Run in Europe
How to Train for a Half Marathon on a Busy Schedule
Run With a View: 5 Races With Stunning Sights