Runners get their own retreats

Runners in forest

A shot from last summer's Run S.M.A.R.T retreat in Flagstaff

In the yoga world, almost every studio hosts an annual retreat where overworked New York yogis can practice poolside pranayama and tropical trikonasanas.

While getaways like these for runners used to be rare, now they’re popping up across the country, says Jonathan Cane, president of New York’s City Coach.

Some running retreats tend to be more training camp than vacation, and some are the other way around, says Cane. Why are they trending up with New Yorkers looking to cash in their vacation time? “These retreats offer a nice way to get out of the city, train someplace that’s challenging and picturesque, and get some good guidance and camaraderie,” says Cane.

Almost all running retreats offer an opportunity for marathoners to up their game, but they’re not just for super-serious pavement-pounders. Many welcome beginners. (And most offer a yoga session or two, to boot.) Here are two up-coming retreats lead by qualified coaches in vacation-worthy settings that you might just want to give a test-run.

Runners in summer

Sightseeing is a major part of Run SMART's retreat

July 24–30, 2011, Flagstaff, Arizona

Brian Rosetti, co-founder of the Run SMART Project, chose Flagstaff for this week-long running retreat because of its dry climate (it’s actually cooler in July than the rest of the state because of its elevation) and scenic trails: You’ll see green mountain trails, the red rock of Sedona, and the rim of the Grand Canyon. “Each day, we have people say, ‘That was the coolest run I’ve ever been on,’ and then the next day, we top it,” says Rosetti. Attendees range from absolute beginners to marathoners, all of whom choose their own pace and distance. Afternoons feature guest speakers (like famed running coach Jack Daniels and Olympian Magdalena Lewy Boulet) and clinics on issues like gait analysis. And they take the retreat aspect seriously. Ample time is left for sightseeing and relaxation in the mountains, and group dinners are a nightly social affair. Embassy Suites, $1,250, includes 6-nights lodging, breakfast, most lunches, and group dinners, www.runsmartproject.com

August 7–10, 2011, Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon

Breitenbush Hot Springs Running Retreat

Soothe your tired feet in Oregon's natural hot springs

Soaks in the area’s natural hot springs after a long run are built into this three-night retreat in the Oregon Cascades. It includes daily runs on forest trails and educational sessions on topics like preventing over-training, running form, and mental focus. The host is Rob VanCleve, a 19-year-veteran running coach who focuses on introducing novices to running and adding some oomph back into the runs of the more experienced. In addition to copious natural hot tubs, Breitenbush, which is located on 154 acres of wildlife sanctuary, offers organic, vegetarian cuisine, a meditation and yoga sanctuary, and massage. “I want people to leave feeling like they’ve had a healthy balance of running, inspiration, and rest,” says VanCleve. Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat, $250, plus cost of lodging (between $70–$109 per night for 3 nights); includes all meals, www.rvcrunning.com
Lisa Elaine Held

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  1. June 20th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Run SMART Project was an innovative concept to begin with. They consistently challenge themselves by introducing ideas that stretch themselves and their trainees while making the sport of running safer, more fulfilling and, best of all, more fun for runners at any and all levels of expertise. Way to go Brian and everyone at Run SMART!! Keep those Run SMART opportunities coming!

  2. June 20th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    […] -Retreats aren’t just for yogis anymore; runners get their own weekends away. (Well + Good NYC) […]

  3. June 21st, 2011 at 9:15 am

    […] -Retreats aren’t just for yogis anymore; runners get their own weekends away. (Well + Good NYC) […]

  4. June 21st, 2011 at 9:26 am

    This is a wonderful idea. I wish I could get a knee fix that will be instant and allow me to return to my running. Running was the best meditation and the best personal therapy I have found for myself. Sigh.

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