You remember the days: toasting marshmallows by a smoky fire, swinging fully clothed into a pond and scurrying through fields playing capture the flag. The thing is, camps don’t have to be just for kids. In fact, for runners — adult runners, that is — they can be an excellent way to boost your technique and mileage while enjoying the summer sun. (Some camps stretch into the fall months, too, meaning, there’s even more time to score a fitness-oriented vacation.)
Here are five camps for every runner to try:
1. ERIC ORTON MOUNTAIN RUNNING ACADEMY
Where: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When: August 10-12 or August 17-19, 2017
This camp delights outdoorsy adventure seekers along with anyone looking to build strength and athleticism. What’s more, you’ll run on flower-lined alpine trails with incredible mountain views. Led by Eric Orton, the coach featured in “Born to Run,” training options suit runners of all levels, whether you wish to boost your mileage or improve your technique. Unless you already live in the mountains, the high-altitude training also helps your regular runs feel easy once you return home.
2. JEFF GALLOWAY RUN WALK RUN RETREAT
Where: Florida, California and Greece
When: September 8-10; November 16-19; December 7-10; January 18-21, 2018; March 15-18, 2018; April 5-8, 2018
Galloway’s retreats are excellent for runners of all abilities, especially those looking to build distance and improve technique. Galloway’s philosophy builds in walking breaks to help prevent injuries, so you can work on adding more miles and stay on your feet. Campers learn how to incorporate walking into training, along with nutrition tips, goal-setting and how to prepare for various racing distances.
3. ZAP FITNESS
Where: Lenoir, North Carolina
When: August 6-11 (marathon week); September 7-10 (half-marathon & marathon weekend)
While this camp features options for all levels, it’s serious business, with multiple elite-level coaches and runners on hand. Camps run through the summer and fall, and feature weekend-getaways or week-long training sessions. The facility itself is situated on 68 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and you run on tree-lined trails, watch videos of your form, enjoy organic meals, learn about proper fueling and more. Camps feature guest coaches and speakers, too, like former American marathon record holder Bill Rodgers, and longtime running journalist Amby Burfoot.
4. ADVENTURE MINDFUL
Where: Boulder, Colorado
When: August 10-13 or August 17-20, 2017
Learn how to meditate or improve your mindfulness practice while boosting your mileage and improving your technique. Two-time Western States 100-Mile race winner Timothy Olson leads you along mountain trails that will soothe your mind while honing your form. Camps also include yoga and nutrition tips — so you can improve your body and your mind.
5. CRAFTSBURY RUNNING CAMPS
Where: Craftsbury Common, Vermont
When: August 20-26 (all comers); September 21-24 (foliage weekend); October 5-8, 2017 (foliage weekend)
Held at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom, you’ll find a true summer-camp feel at these sessions. Runners of all abilities learn training techniques like intervals and tempos, along with running physiology and proper nutrition. Camps run from a weekend’s length to 10 days. The offerings include trail runs of multiple distances and video analyses — along with regular yoga and a pond for swimming. You can cozy up for summer campfire nights or wait until the fall, when the days and trails are filled with a myriad of foliage colors.