Best Running Retreats for Runners – Running Vacations –

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Make 2020 the year you splurge on something for you—a vacation centered around running.
Unless you’re a pro runner, your days likely look similar to ours—filled up with work, family duties, and other obligations that make it challenging to squeeze a run in. Even when you’re on vacation, it can be hard to log a few miles without feeling guilty about missing a fun activity with family or friends.
But with the New Year upon us and our 2020 calendars still relatively empty, we’re daydreaming about ways to blend our resolutions to run faster, travel more, build better connections with others, and practice mindfulness. One solution? Splurging on a running retreat, which is essentially a training camp for adult runners but with extra perks like gourmet meals, meditation classes, massages, lectures from pro runners, and more.
Here, we’ve rounded up a few running retreats for every type of runner to add to your bucket list.
Best for: Trail runners looking for spa amenities and breathtaking views
Length: 7 days
Price: $1,995-$5,100
Location: Varies
If you love getting dirty on the trail but want a luxury hotel room to come home to, this all-women retreat is for you. Runners first decide what level they want to participate in (there are three levels, with level three being the most advanced), then they choose their location, picking between scenic locales such as the Italian Dolomites, Canadian Rockies, Moab Desert, Mediterranean coast, and the Iceland Highlands.
These seven-day retreats are pricier than most on this list (fees vary by trip, ranging from $1,995 to $5,100), but they include almost everything except airfare: hotel accommodations in luxury resorts, ground transportation, most meals, activities, wellness workshops, run coaching, and professional trail running guides are all part of the package. If you’re going alone, keep in mind that most solo runners are paired with another solo runner as a roommate. A typical day at a Run Wild retreat starts with breakfast in the hotel, then a trail run, running form clinic, lunch, a wellness workshop, spa session, and finally dinner.
Best for: Runners who want to go off the grid to run, write, and meditate
Length: 4 days
Price: $1,850-$2,100
Location: Caldera, Oregon
Started by former professional runner and Picky Bars founder Lauren Fleshman, this retreat is one part training camp, one part writing workshop exclusively for women. During the four-day getaway (May 22 through 25) in the Oregon wilderness, runners enjoy trail runs, form clinics, yoga and meditation sessions, and plenty of time to relax and write. Retreats are led by Fleshman and an all-star team of runners, writers, and yoga teachers, with special guest speakers such as cookbook author Elyse Kopecky.
The retreats are small—they cap off at around 35 women—so interested runners must submit an application in order to get a spot. The application window for May will open sometime in January. You can sign up for the Wilder Newsletter to be notified when to apply.
Best for: All levels of runners who are aiming to improve their fitness in thinner air
Length: 7 days
Price: $950-$1,750
Location: Estes Park, Colorado
If you’ve always dreamed of training pro-style with a stint at altitude, here’s your chance. Active at Altitude camps run throughout the summer in Estes Park and are open to women of all levels, from beginner (you’re able to run a 5K at 12 to 15 minute-mile pace) to advanced (you can run a half marathon at 10 minute-mile pace or faster). Men don’t have to miss out, either—there are also co-ed trail running camps in the spring (May 12 through 17) and fall (September 15 through 20) that are open to trail runners of both genders.
At the beginning of camp, participants are filmed running and given feedback on their form, which they can implement throughout the week; at the end of the week, they are filmed again to see the progress they’ve made. A typical day starts with breakfast, a run, then an afternoon of workshops and cross-training activities like aqua jogging or hiking through the beautiful Colorado trails. The fee includes accommodation (single, double, and bunk rooms are available) and bedding, all meals and camp sessions, plus transportation in Estes Park.
Best for: Runners looking for an informative retreat on beautiful Blue Ridge trails
Length: Weekend (4 days) and full week (6 days)
Price: $875 for weekend; $1,275 for full week
Location: Blowing Rock, North Carolina
If you’re craving crisp air and winding trails thick with greenery, the mountains of North Carolina are calling. Each summer, professional running club ZAP Endurance hosts five running retreats (two four-day weekends and four 6-day weeks) at their homebase of Blowing Rock.
Runners of all levels—from those training for their first 5K to those aiming to BQ this fall—are invited to camp, where each day includes a three to seven-mile run, plus informative workshops on strength training, nutrition, goal-setting, and proper running form. Outside of running, campers are invited to fun activities such as ziplining above the tree-line and tubing down the New River. Each retreat also features a special guest speaker such as legendary coach Greg McMillan, Bill Rodgers, and Bart Yasso.
The price includes all food, lodging, and training activities. While there’s a schedule for each day, participants are encouraged to adjust it to their needs, whether that means running a few extra miles or taking the day off to simply enjoy the mountains. After all, this is a running vacation.
Best for: Data geeks looking to improve their form and fitness with a scientific approach
Length: 4 days
Price: $1,700 (lodging not included)
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Hosted by the renowned Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST), this camp—which offers sessions in May and June 2020—is designed for runners of all abilities who are serious about optimizing their training and maximizing their race performance. During the long weekend at Furman University, runners complete a series of individual tests measuring VO2 max (how much oxygen is used during exercise), lactate levels, body composition, and biomechanics. Using this information, the experienced FIRST staff crafts an individualized training plan for each participant.
For the rest of camp, runners go on group runs around Furman University and along local trails, and attend informational sessions on nutrition, strength training, cross-training, stretching, injury prevention, and the psychology of running and racing. They will also learn about the FIRST Marathon Training Plan, which emphasizes “less is more” training, with runners only running three days and cross-training intensely for two days per week. The retreat fee covers all meals, activities, and transportation, but does not include lodging.
Best for: Runners and writers who are searching for inspiration in their craft and sport
Length: 5 days
Price: $1,650-$2,250
Location: Hurricane, Utah
All women runners, writers, and adventure-seekers are invited to find their flow on this five-day, four-night retreat (February 28 through March 3) led by Katie Arnold, author of Running Home and winner of the 2018 Leadville 100-Mile. Located in scenic southern Utah, the retreat includes lodging, beautiful trail runs and hikes, coaching from Arnold, meditation sessions, writing workshops, and three meals a day (plus trail snacks from GU). Every camper also receives a Moleskin journal and pens to use for their writing practice. While you don’t have to be a world-class ultrarunner to attend the camp, it is advised that participants arrive fit and healthy for running (or hiking), with an adventurous spirit and an open mind.
If you can’t make it to Arnold’s retreat in Utah, she is also hosting a writing-focused retreat in Sante Fe, New Mexico, on May 11 through May 14. At this retreat, participants explore the connection between motion and writing—particularly, how physical activity and stillness boost creativity and thought. A typical day includes meditation exercises, discussions on written works, and writing on-the-go workshops. Along with writing workshops, Arnold leads meditation exercises and on-the-go writing classes. The retreat fee ($1,495) includes meals and classes, but not lodging.


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