If your running routine lacks variety, it’s time to grab the right gear and mix things up: An adult running camp will teach you about training, nutrition and lifestyle tweaks you can make to run more mindfully.
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 an adult 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 and a waist pack for your phone and water—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 attend an adult running camp near you? These seven camps will help you fine-tune your skill and bring out your best running self.
Best Running Camps
For All Ages: Craftsbury Running Camp
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 offer active additional activities to keep you fit and healthy. Plan on "hill and interval workouts, multiple yoga sessions, and mobility and strengthening drills" alongside "presentations and roundtable discussions on training through the ages, sports nutrition, injury prevention, and recovery tips and tricks."
For Ladies Only: Run Wild Retreats
Sure, it’s fun to train and race with men. But sometimes, it’s nice to make time to reconnect with other 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 adult running retreats are offered throughout the year in three levels and in picturesque locales such as Moab, UT. If you’re up for international travel, try one in Iceland, Spain, Ireland, Italy, or even Bhutan!
For the Rugged & Adventurous: Max King Trail Running Camp
Located in the most picturesque areas of Oregon and California, 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. Camps are selected on public lands with an eye toward the "wild awesome wilderness"—locations each year have the most unique geology, stunning geography, and interesting history. Often near a lake or river, pack for your time on the trails by bringing a small backpack to stash your snacks, maps, and compass, and a clean/dirty packing cube for your wet bathing suit.
For an International Run: Trail Running Factory
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.
For Improved Endurance: Active at Altitude Women’s Running Camp
You’ll be training in the gorgeous Estes Park, CO, which boasts an elevation approximately of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). This women's-only adult running camp runs weeklong retreats with conditioning exercises that range from pool running and yoga to guided climbing and speed and hill workouts. 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.
For Experienced Runners: Southwest Colorado Running Retreat
This camp also hosts retreats in the high altitude mountains of Colorado. But for those dreaming looking for a more hardcore running experience, the Southwest Colorado Running Retreat takes place on other-worldly terrain in the San Juan Mountains, at was designed with mountain trail and ultra-runners in mind. Altitudes reach over 13,000 ft (3,900 meters), so plan time to acclimatize before the running camp begins.
- Wilder Running Retreat: A four-day retreat in Oregon offers a lovely mix of yoga, writing, and running.
- ZAP Endurance Running Vacations: Say hello to the Blue Ridge Mountains, an unbeatable location for trail running, among other adventurous activities.
- The Cool Impossible Run Camp: Running in Jackson Hole won't be a chore, and the location offers a number of other adventurous possibilities nearby as you train with running coach Eric Orton.
What to Pack for Adult Running Camps
- Fill your a duffel backpack with all sorts of workout clothes, because when you’re not running, you’ll enjoy yoga and bodyweight fitness routines.
- Plan for the sweat with some antimicrobial packing organizers and clean/dirty packing cubes to keep stinky clothes separate from clean ones.
- Use a shoe sack for your running shoes—this contains the smell, and keeps the shoe soles from dirtying up your bag.
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.
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By Alison Kotch
Alison is a Brooklyn-based writer and runner who has completed twelve half-marathons and three marathons. She looks forward to running more races in exotic locales (and eventually tackling her first trail race).