Far from just being an excuse to relive your childhood summers, going to a running camp is a fast way to shore up your weaknesses as a racer and improve your long-term performance. The main benefit isn’t the workouts—though you’ll log plenty of miles while you’re there. It’s the chance to get advice on nutrition, stretching, managing your training, and hydration from some of the running world’s top coaches. These three should be at the top of any list.
The Best Running Camps: Craftsbury Running Camps, Vermont
Of the three training centers on this list, Craftsbury feels the most like a real summer camp. You’ll stay in a cabin on the shores of a lake in the woods, surrounded by the gentle peaks of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Beyond the nostalgia-inducing setting, you’ll train hard, running two workouts a day and a training program each evening under former world cross-country champion and Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist Lynn Jennings. The center hosts programs throughout the summer and fall; weekend camps cost $350, while a week-long camp will run you $980.
The Best Running Camps: Zap Fitness, North Carolina
Located a mile high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Zap Fitness training center was created in 2001 as an incubator for elite distance runners. But come summer, the organization also opens its doors (and the surrounding grounds) to adult runners of all abilities who want to master the mental aspects of running challenging races. Its coaching staff is a who’s who of American running history; this year, legendary marathoners Bill Rodgers and Dick Beardsley are on the teaching roster (mini camps $525; full-week camps $750).
The Best Running Camps: Flagstaff Adult Running Camp, Arizona
As the head of the McMillan Elite team, legendary distance coach Greg McMillan has trained Olympians. But he’s best known for the accessible and effective custom training programs that he creates for everyday amateur runners. His camps, held at nearly 7,000 feet in the desert of Northern Arizona, are intense and wide-ranging in focus. Attendees get one-on-one input on technique, training, nutrition, and injury prevention, as well as the chance to run on some of the most striking desert mountain trails in the country ($300 for a four-day camp).