For the past two weeks I worked as a coach at the annual adult summer running camps in Craftsbury, VT. My primary role there is to present on training physiology, form & footwear, and to do gait analysis for the campers. However, I also get to participate in a lot of the workouts and do a lot of general coaching duties which require you to be active pretty much all day, every day. It’s fun work, but you hit the bed each night like a sack of bricks!
This year I thought it might be interesting to tally up my running mileage, as well as my general activity level as measured in daily steps by my Garmin Vivofit (to see a more general overview of what running camp is like, go here and view my photo-journal).
To start, here is a summary of the camper workout agenda:
Morning: Hill Running Clinic – total of about 3 miles
Afternoon: Strides and Drills Clinic
Evening: 3.5-4 miles easy run to the Black River for a swim
Morning: Track Intervals/Reps – 3×800, 3×400, 4×400 relay race (plus about 2 miles warm-up & cooldown)
Evening: Optional 5K trail race (~2/3 single track trails, very challenging courses!!!)
Endurathon Day – 10 miles biking, 3 mile hike up and down mountain Pisgah or Hor, 6 mile run along Lake Willoughby (see map below), 10 miles biking home
Morning – Yoga, then up to 11 mile run on Stowe bike path (out-and-back, campers choose distance)
Evening – optional run/bike/swim/boating
Morning – Tempo/Fartlek Workout (30/60/90sec on with equal off x 3, then 6 min tempo), optional 2.5 cooldown back to Outdoor Center
Afternoon – optional run/bike/swim/boating
Morning – 10 mile “Ridge Run” at 5:30 AM before check-out (see map and elevation below)
As a coach I did not do all of the workouts with the campers (e.g., I was filming during the track and fartlek/tempo runs, though I did manage a PR of 62 seconds in the 400m relay!). However, I did add on some solo runs here and there. For example, I did the 7-mile “Lake Loop” around Great Hosmer Pond three times over the course of the two weeks I was there – very hilly with lots of steep, short ups and downs.
The first week I was not great about tracking my run mileage, but I did so carefully for the second week and wound up covering about 51 miles total. That was my second 50+ mile week of the year, and with the elevation change (~4000 feet total climb for the week) it was easily my toughest training week of the year. Exactly what I needed heading into a 50K this Fall! I know at least one of the campers ran 57 miles, and some of the other coaches did even more.
Running is really only one part of the story when it comes to camp though. We also have yoga sessions, bootcamp, cycling options, swimming clinics, kayaking, etc. And just walking from place to place on the Outdoor Center property makes for a lot of general activity and exhausting days. To give you an idea of the general activity level, here are my Garmin Vivofit totals from the two weeks – the blue bars are days when I was back at home (I came home to watch my oldest son perform in a drama production):
So last week I averaged almost 22,000 steps per day between running and walking around! Unfortunately the calorie burn is mostly offset by the amount of food I ate in the dining hall…we’ll see where my weight ends up after a few days recovery, but my guess is pretty similar to when I left.
If you’re looking for a great way to spend a week in the summer, I highly recommend a running camp like the one at Craftsbury. You’ll learn a lot, eat well, and cover a ton of ground on your feet. Personally, running almost 100 miles in two weeks over the hills of northern Vermont has done wonders for my leg strength, and I could tell a difference from week one to week two. Now I just need to keep the training chugging along for another month and a half to be ready for the Vermont 50K!
As a final side-note, there was also some talk about a new “Trails to Ales” 4-day weekend camp for next Fall – the goal would be to do a long trail run each day followed by trips to various craft breweries in Vermont. Any interest???