There are basketball, band, and arts and crafts camps—but did you know about running camps? If you've never heard of running camps for high schools or college cross country runners, a large variety of adult running camps come in multiple ranges of a social run-cation (a vacation with running). In some running camps, you can sign up with your friends and enjoy a loose form of run-and-fun. Others may focus more on techniques taught by professional athletes and coaches to help improve your running, and other camps may be specific to professional running teams.
Today, we would love to share some of the best running camps within the U.S. Whether you're looking for a runcation, brush up on your skills, or a pro looking for a challenge; hopefully, our list will inspire and motivate you to get up and camp-running!
Bruce Camp, or Camp Running with the Bruces, was first announced in 2015. Stephanie Bruce and her husband and fellow runner, Ben, launched their run coaching business over a decade ago. When they began their business, athletes and fans alike planted the idea of an annual running camp, and for the last eight years, they've hosted Bruce Camp in Flagstaff, AZ.
The camp offers the opportunity to live and train like professionals and provides a highly personal experience. To ensure that personal experience, Bruce Camp has a limited amount of space available for camp each year—for example, in 2023, the limit is thirty runners.
At Bruce Camp, runners will experience dirt trails along the aspens and pine trees in the crisp mountain air in gorgeous August. Additionally, runners will be given advice and taught how to recover correctly, get the most out of their body during training, and have a chance at enjoying some of the best food at the end of the day.
The camp is open to every level of ability, from beginner to professional, and the camp hopes to inspire everyone to fall more in love with running by the end.
Zap, founded in 2001, is a non-profit training center for post-collegiate, Olympic hopeful distance runners. ZAP's founders, Andy Palmer and his wife, Zika, came up with the idea as a way to give back to the sport of distance running, which has played a significant role in their lives.
Andy, a lifelong athlete, and a two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, had the excellent luck of beginning his running career during the boom of the 70s. Andy trained in Boston with influential runners like Bill Rodgers, Joan Samuelson, Greg Meyer, and Bruce Bickford. And while Andy had the opportunity to train with the best, his lack of financial support was the biggest hindrance to his career. When his competitive days passed, Andy acquired a Ph.D. in Sports Psychology, beginning to work with athletes of all ages and abilities to teach them the mental skills needed for success.
During the late 90s, Zika was setting out on her running career. Since the 70s, however, Zika found opportunities for motivated young post-college runners were disappointingly non-existent. Runners were competing after college yet could barely find any groups to train with; she was constantly searching for running partners.
Andy and Zika met in Bar Harbor Main and Roy Bensons' High School camp in Asheville, NC, where they began dreaming of a way to incorporate a running camp business that could help support Olympic hopefuls.
Construction of the ZAP facility was completed in the winter of 2001-2002, boasting a dining room, kitchen, weight room, and lodging for 24 people to accommodate their running campers and another building to house camp athletes comfortably. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in February 2002, as Andy unexpectedly passed at 48. Devastated by his loss, Zika was determined not to let the dream go, and the doors of ZAP opened that May.
Two decades later, ZAP Endurance Running Vacations for all ages and with any goal are still strong. During July, at the Chetola Resort, runners can retreat to the Blue Ridge Mountains to relax, focus on running while exploring the country, and learn about training, nutrition, strength training, running form, and the mental aspect of running.
The Half Marathon and Marathon Weekend are held in September at the Chetola Resort. This camp aims to help you make the most of your training or how best to approach full or half marathons.
Included in registration costs are all of your food and lodgings, and optional services such as massage and spa treatments can also be booked.
Run Wild Retreat's Moab Mindful Running
In Moab, Utah, during October, the Moab Mindful Running Retreat focuses on how running can be an excellent means of de-stressing and can be highly efficient at battling chronic stress. The focus is not on improving performance or techniques but on making running less stressful for the mind and body. The retreat provides simple form adjustments to increase efficiency and reduce injury while offering lessons on mindful running and how to better tune into your body's sensations. Yoga is also held after runs to help all runners optimize their recovery.
Camp Runabout is a three-night adult Running camp in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Runabout is all-inclusive for adult runners of all ages and abilities and is touted as more of a summer camp with a fitness theme. Some of the features that Camp Runabout provides are gorgeous trail runs, world-class speakers, fun camp activities, a roving open bar, daily fitness classes, campfires, and nightly entertainment.
Of course, morning runs or yoga sessions are also included, along with all meals, lodging, and other adventures such as low ropes courses, zip lines, and kayaking, to name a few.
Are you ready to go on an adventure? Are you looking to learn something new while visiting beautiful, natural spaces? Perhaps you want to push yourself, expand your mind, and recharge on a weekend? Whichever reason compels you, we think these camps are some of the best running camps within the U.S. that should be on your radar.