It's no secret that all the top runners in the world train at altitude, usually at year-round clinics with their coaches. For the rest of us, there's Active at Altitude's Fall Trail Running Camp. This weekend camp (October 18-21, 2012) takes place in the forested outskirts of the mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado, and is a perfect lead-up to marathon season.
There are one to two runs a day, usually a six- to eight-mile run through the scenic singletrack of nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, or on double days, a long run of up to 12 miles in the morning, followed by a short, easy "shake out" run in the afternoon. Adam Chase, a professional ultra runner and President of the American Trail Running Association, leads the runs, along with camp founder Terry Chiplin, a personal trainer for more than 15 years, a sports nutritionist, and a coach with Bold Running in Boulder, Colorado. The camp is open to all levels of runners, given they can meet the prerequisite of being able to run at least six miles at a ten-minute pace at sea level. Campers run together, on mostly rolling out-and-back courses (slower runners don't go all the way to the turn-around), with either Chase or Chiplin bringing up the rear to play sweep.
Workouts are supplemented with daily cross–training including yoga and hiking. Camp includes evening lectures by either Chase or Chiplin on topics ranging from honing your mental game, to proper running technique, to fueling your body both on and off the trail. Even though you're there for the workouts, the six-bedroom mountain lodge and three-times-daily organic home-cooked meals, like shrimp pasta with arugula salad, not to mention the onsite massage, make it feel like a vacation. Almost. [Rates start at $445, all-inclusive; activeataltitude.com]