To Camp or Not to Camp?


For years coaches and athletes have debated the worth of attending a sleepaway cross country camp for a week, either with their teammates, or on a solo mission, and with the recent boom in the sport, these camps are as popular as ever. As you or your athletes decide on whether to attend a camp, or which one to attend, here is a simple guide to the area's camps, both new and old, and some reasons to attend.

So, what's in it for me?

Many coaches balk at encouraging their athletes to attend a camp during the summer, and in some cases, it's for good reason. It's plausible that you would be sending your kids off into a situation that isn't best for them. Though there could be some negatives in a particular of an athlete spending a week during the summer running too much or too competitively. However most camps are a very positive experience and make the athletes better runners and teammates, while meeting new people along the way. Some of the possible negatives include:

-A tendency to over train for one week or be overly competitive

-A coaching/ training philosophy that doesn't align to the high school coach's

-In cases of individuals attending, a lack of building team chemistry with high school teammates

-Possible injury risk due to taking on too much at once

With that being said, the benefits of attending the right camp far outweigh the costs. Without a doubt, some camps are better than others, but, by and large, the instructors, staff, and directors want the best possible experience for the campers because they are running a business. It's no different than getting a Wendy's Baconator with too little bacon- you won't come back for more then, and you wouldn't come back to a flimsy camp. The benefits of attending many XC camps include, but are not limited to:

-Motivation in the midst of a long summer to train hard

-Meeting athletes from around the country who share your XC experience

-Hearing new ideas from different, unique coaches and college athletes

-Getting perks that are impossible to get during most HS practices, including things like gait analysis, pace calculation, and stride rate

-Classroom sessions from elite athletes and coaches that cover everything from form to nutrition to mental preparation

-Building confidence and having a week in an otherwise self-reliant summer to train with others

-When attending with your own team, bonding with your teammates outside of practice

-Momentum to carry you into the XC season after a long, hard summer of training

And we could go on and on and on. Those are just a few of the benefits.

Here is a partial list of some of the many New England area camps that XC runners could choose, including a brief description of what it does best. SOURCE:

Acadian Running Camp

Smugglers Den Campground (ME)

Featuring: Runs around Eagle Lake, beautiful scenery



Colby College XC Camp

Waterville, ME

Featuring: training led by Colby College's exceptional coaching staff



Maine XC Running Camp

Brunswick, ME

Featuring: Legendary Bowdoin Coach Peter Slovenski & an incredible FOUR weeks of sessions



Green Mountain Running Camp

Lyndonville, VT

Featuring: Three sessions in July and August



Stowe Running Camp

Stowe, VT

Featuring: Stride analysis, Harvard Coach Jason Saretsky


Gold Medal Running Camp

Hanover, NH

Featuring: Dartmouth College expert coaching staff


Foss Running Camp

Manchester, NH

Featuring: Two huge weeks filled with fun and camaraderie



New Balance Running Academy

Torrington, CT

Featuring: Motivational talks from coaches, sports medicine experts, world class runners


American XC Camp

Portsmouth Abbey, RI

Featuring: Legendary American University Coach Matt Centrowicz


New England Prep XC Camp

Northfield-Mount Hermon, MA

Featuring: 10-mile Challenge Run to cap off a great week of training


Westwood Running Camp

Camp Winadu, MA

Featuring: Beautiful scenery in the Berkshires


Berkshire Running Camp

Camp Lenox, MA

Featuring: Team building activities like ropes courses, differentiated workouts, guest speakers including world class coaches and athletes, leadership group discussions, nightly campfires, lakefront views, expert coaching.

And there are many more! Athletes and coaches should always have open conversations on the benefits of attending one of these camps, but remember, as the sport gains in popularity, these camps do as well. Act fast, because many of them are selling out as we speak!