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Indulge in a Women’s Running Retreat

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womens running retreatWhether you seek strength training or rejuvenation, escape from the daily grind with these five women-only retreats.

Halfway through a group run on a winding Rocky Mountain National Park trail, I wondered, when was the last time I had an entire week all to myself? One week to get away from the daily grind, where I could really focus on me. One week to meet other likeminded women—to sweat, laugh and even cry together. It seemed like such a luxury, and yet there I was, a participant at Active at Altitude’s Women’s Running and Conditioning camp—my first week “just for me” in nearly 20 years. No matter what your running goals, there’s a retreat out there for you. It all begins with your intention. Take that first step, and you may find yourself running at one of these five fabulous retreats.


Dreamchaser’s Women’s Running Camp Teton Valley, Idaho

March 2010
6 days: $1,795 double

Find a dream and chase it down in the Grand Tetons. Dreamchaser’s training camp is committed to helping women of all fitness levels set big goals and achieve them. This camp is for women ready to step outside of their comfort zones, both on and off the trail. Endurance athlete and camp founder Lisa Smith-Batchen begins and ends camp with a gait analysis, so each gal has the opportunity to perfect her form. Expect three workouts per day: one run and two other activities such as core work, yoga, Pilates, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, hiking and aqua running. Certified coaches and experts lead all activities.

Accommodations: Luxuriate at the 780-acre Teton Springs Resort’s Headwaters Club located 20 minutes from Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Cuisine: Meals take place at the resort’s Headwaters Grille, serving up mountain-style pub food. Or venture off on a sleigh ride dinner to nearby Grand Targhee Resort, featuring meats and veggies made to order in a yurt.

What to Bring: Gather lots of layers for this winter wonderland camp. Don’t forget a hat and gloves as well as a bathing suit for the hot springs. Don’t worry about lugging your own equipment because all activity gear will be provided.



Lake Champlain Women’s Running Camp

Vergennes, Vt.
June 2010
$1,750 single, $1,400 double

Improve your running confidence and learn healthy lifestyle habits in a supportive atmosphere. The Lake Champlain camp is for women relatively new to running, or those seeking time away from their hectic schedules to concentrate on training. After morning yoga, run flat backcountry roads and trails around Basin Harbor’s 700 serene acres, set against the backdrop of the Green Mountains. Daily workshops will improve performance through form drills, stretching, core strengthening, water running, track workouts, as well as discussions on sports psychology and injury prevention. Camp founder Andrea Sisino puts special emphasis on nutrition, teaching women how to fuel for running, and for life. Spend the afternoons kayaking, swimming, hiking and relaxing on the beaches of the Basin Harbor Club.

Accommodations: Share a two- or three-bedroom cottage with lake views at the charming Basin Harbor Club.

Cuisine: With an on-staff nutritionist and locally grown whole grains, fruits and veggies prepared by the Basin Harbor chef, meals have been mentioned as one of the highlights of this camp for six years running.

What to Bring: While temps reach the 70s during the day, they can go down to a chilly 40 degrees at night. Along with your running attire, bring yoga attire, a swimsuit and warmer clothes for the evening.


Active at Altitude Women’s Running and Conditioning Camp

Estes Park, Colo.
May, July and Sept. 2010
$1,395 single, $1,145 double, $1,045 quad

Reap the benefits of high altitude training from 7,500 up to 12,000 feet. Active at Altitude is designed for experienced runners looking to strengthen their legs and lungs. Runs range from long, slow trail runs in Rocky Mountain National Park to speed work on the local high school track. Founder and Director Terry Chiplin supplements daily runs with cross-training sessions in the pool or on the mountain bike, and sometimes, with a second run or a hike. Guest instructors, including world championship marathoners and Olympians, teach form drills, pacing and dynamic stretching. A certified Life Coach, Chiplin leads evening workshops devised to change more than just your running. The camp features an on-site massage therapist and provides free time for sightseeing, shopping and horseback riding.

Accommodations: The entire group stays together in a majestic mountain lodge, 10 minutes outside of Estes Park, Colo.

Cuisine: Expect healthy, hearty home-cooked meals like brown-rice pasta with tempeh bolognese and an organic arugula salad. Terry dishes up his special porridge at breakfast: organic oatmeal, soymilk, raisins, cranberries, nuts and agave nectar.

What to Bring: Pull out the giant suitcase—you’ll need clothes for running, swimming, biking, yoga and shopping. Don’t forget to bring your hiking boots, running flats, trail runners and cycling shoes if you’ve got them. Thankfully, washers and dryers are available at the lodge—you can always re-wear, if necessary.


Run Wild Missoula

Running Camp Retreat for Women
Tarkio, Mont.
September 2010

Weekend: $250 double

Think of this as your “girls just want to have fun” weekend running getaway. Run Wild started this camp last year to give women runners a comfortable setting to learn how to improve their running, exercise and relax. Unpretentious and laid-back, this retreat is for women who love to run. Professional female runners lead workouts on both trails and roads for a total run time of 2.5 hours between Friday night and Sunday morning. In between runs, Camp Coordinator Eva Dunn-Froebig ensures a girly good time with yoga, foot soaks and do-it-yourself pedicures and massages.

Accommodations: The camp keeps costs low by using a member of the Run Wild Missoula Club’s spacious home, located on the Clark Fork River just 50 miles west of Missoula, Mont.

Cuisine: Everyone helps prepare energizing and nutritious meals in true camp fashion. Fresh food is purchased daily.

What to Bring: Even though it’s just one weekend, you’ll want to check a bag, as you’re encouraged to stow your favorite alcoholic beverage. Montana weather is unpredictable throughout fall, so pack running attire suitable for both warm and cool conditions, as well as comfortable clothing for yoga and lounging. Bring a swimsuit and a towel for the hot tub.


Women’s Quest Hawaii Relaxation Retreat

The Big Island of Hawaii
March 2010

Week: $2,550 single, $2,200 double

If your relationship with running has been all work and no play, prepare for radical change. Women’s Quest puts renewal above racing. This retreat is for women looking to kick back and relax in a gorgeous island setting. Daily runs are done in the gentle morning sun. Don’t feel like running? No problem. Go for a hike, walk the beach or even sleep in. Founder and Director Colleen Cannon fills the rest of your days with ocean swims, snorkeling, kayaking, daily yoga and hikes around Volcanoes National Park. Learn a process she calls Heart’s Desire, which includes journaling and creative exercises designed to unleash your dreams.

Accommodations: Sojourn at an ocean-side retreat center called Hale Kai on a secluded bay. You’ll reside in an artsy bungalow set in a tropical garden.

Cuisine: Look forward to fresh gourmet meals served with a view. Dinners like creamy coconut curry topped with grilled fish are delivered with salads, tropical fruit and the best Kona coffee.

What to Bring: Think beachwear—hats, sunglasses, sundresses and strappy sandals. Runs are on the road, so one sturdy pair of running shoes that can double for hikes will do the trick. Bring a rain jacket for Volcanoes. Everything else should be your easy, breezy cozies—yoga pants, sarongs, organic cotton  tanks.

Jayme Otto travels to write and writes to travel. This year, she biked the Italian Alps, kite-surfed Aruba, played soccer in Rwanda, trekked through a cave in Puerto Rico, mountain biked in Phoenix and ran the Lake Tahoe Rim trail. More at