Is a Running Camp Right for You?

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The resolutions have been made, the races registrations have been mailed, and the new year is officially in full swing. Whether 2012′s goals are set in ink or noted in pencil, the time has come to start working towards them. If a big race or personal record is one of those goals, a running camp may be the thing for you.

What is a Running Camp?

Summer sports camps are popular for high-school athletes looking to prepare for their next season, but a number of adult running camps have sprung up to meet the needs of dedicate amateurs as well. Typically a week long, an adult running camp allows runners to spend time dedicated to their sport while receiving guidance from professional coaches and athletes.

Moreover, a running camp allows runners—who often spend long hours training on their own—meet other people just as interested in their sport.

The fact that these camps are typically held in beautiful locations and feature excellent food and accommodation just adds to the appeal.

Who is a Running Camp For?

Of course, these camps do not come cheap. Typically ranging from $1,000 to more than $2,000 for an all inclusive week, participation comes with a high price tag—not to mention a week away from work and family.

Still, for certain runners the time and expense is well worth the investment. These runners can best be described as “dedicated amateurs”: People who run and race regularly and are looking to accomplish a specific goal—either a faster time or a longer distance—in 2012.

Of course, a running camp includes a lot of running. This means that participants should be comfortable with higher weekly mileages—typically around 70 miles per week—before the camp begins.

Where Do I Sign Up?

There are dozens of running camps held around the country—and world—every summer. Picking the right one is a matter of matching schedules, focus, and location. Here are a few popular choices:

Craftsbury Marathon Camp: Held in Vermont between July 15 and 21, this seven-day camp is open to runners of all abilities and, at $980, is one of the cheapest week-long options. This would be ideal for a runner looking to complete his or her first marathon in the fall.

Jeff Galloway’s Lake Tahoe Running Retreat: Another option for those looking to train for a fall marathon is this camp located at Lake Tahoe, California. Led by Marathon Legend Jeff Galloway, this week long retreat runs between July 13-20 and costs $2045.

Gunnison UltraRunning Experience: There are several options for runners looking to make the leap to ultras in 2012. One excellent option is the Gunnison UltraRunning Experience, led by Two-Time Leadville 100 Champion Duncan Callahan and US Mountain Running Team Member Timmy Parr. In addition to running with these and other professional runners, the five-day camp includes organic cooking classes, physical therapy evaluations, and a full suite of professional fitness testing. The camp runs from July 24 to July 29 and costs $1,490.

Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp: For trail runners looking for adventure, the Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp is the ideal choice. Led by Geoff Roes—who has won nearly every big-name ultra on the yearly schedule—the week-long camp consists of runs up and down the mountains surrounding Juneau, Alaska. Several sessions are available each summer, each costing $1,475.

All-Star UTMB Training Camp: Finally, for those considering a running trip of a lifetime, there’s the All-Star UTMB Training Camp, based in Chamonix, France. Over the course of a week, runners will traverse the entire 103 mile UTMB course through the Alps. The camp runs from May 26 to June 2 and costs EUR 2,299.

Photo credits: John Steven Fernandez/Creative Commons and Beto Ruiz Alonso/Creative Commons