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 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

Mount Desert Narrows Campground (ME)

Featuring: Runs around Eagle Lake, beautiful scenery

Berkshire Running Camp

Camp Danibee, 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.

Colby College XC Camp

Waterville, ME

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

Craftsbury Running Camp

 Craftsbury Common

Three-time Olympian, Olympic bronze medalist and three-time world cross country champion Lynn Jennings will be back at Craftsbury for the seventh time in 2013. As Director of Running, Lynn enjoys sharing her running history and knowledge with Craftsbury runners

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

Granite State Running Camp

 Camp will be held on the Camp Wilmot grounds in the picturesque Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Camp Wilmot has updated cabins and facilities and offers a crystal clear lake, sports fields, and a climbing wall for use during free time

Stowe Running Camp

Cross country Campers run and cross-train on Stowe's many backcountry trails, dirt roads, and single track terrain. 

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 Running 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

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!