I am a runner. At times I actually enjoy running. I have grown to appreciate the feeling of wonder that comes from seeing progress. I have even felt the pride that comes from crossing the finish line after a physically and mentally gruelling race.
Despite all of this, I would never, ever, in a million years contemplate attending an adult running camp. In fact, until this week, I did not know that such a thing existed. Whenever I am shocked by the discovery of something I find to be bizarre and unnecessary, I feel compelled to do a brief and cursory internet search for information that supports my belief that said bizarre/unnecessary thing is, in fact, both bizarre and unnecessary.
Google quickly confirmed that adult running camps do, in fact, exist. Not only that, but the sheer number of search results shows that they are popular enough to warrant things like “top 10” lists to help me assess where I should direct my dollars. I am intrigued enough to click, read and search for evidence to support my already burgeoning confirmation bias.
The following is a comprehensive list of evidence to support my belief that running camps are bizarre and/or unnecessary:
1.These camps are clearly confused about what they are. They like to hide under romanticized guises of being “vacations” or “getaways”. Hey, I like running and have even been known to go for a run while on vacation, but let’s not kid ourselves, a running camp is not the same thing as a vacation or getaway.
2.Running is a free activity. Free. So, so free. You can run whenever you like, wherever you like. These people are paying, and very handsomely I might add, to do something you could do at home for free. And let me just say, if you really wanted coaching, I think you could find a running coach who provides 1:1 instruction for far less than some of these camps. I did, however, briefly contemplate starting my own “running vacation” camp to cash in on this craze.
3.They all describe picturesque scenery as if it will somehow transform your running and make running less, well, hard. I have lived in the Rockies. I now live in Vancouver, arguably one of the most beautiful cities in North America. For all the scenery both have to offer, running is still difficult. Looking at pretty things while running is not going to do a damn thing to raise your game.
4.Selling features seem to include running in groups (!!!!) and I think we all remember how I feel about running in herds, and assorted camp activities outside of your running time. I am left only to imagine the horror of campfire singalongs, dance lessons, and talent shows. It probably doesn’t help that my sole points of reference for camp activities consist of what I’ve seen in Dirty Dancing and Camp Cucamonga.
5.Some include shared bunk lodging. I feel that, as adults, we’ve earned the right not to share rooms with strangers. If it were me attending, I’d be letting everyone know they could find me in a room at the nearest Westin. Particularly if I’m going to be forced to run in herds all day, I’m going to need private space to decompress sans sweaty compadres. And don’t even get me started on the risk of being paired with the dreaded heavy snorer.
6.They all promise that you’ll leave with a renewed passion for running. Like most things in life, I’m tempted to believe that spending a whole week doing just one thing will actually make you hate it. There’s a reason there’s an expression about having too much of a good thing (think chocolate or ice cream). You know what gives you a renewed passion for running? I say it’s an injury that forces you to stop running long enough that you actually start to miss it, not that I’m projecting here.
This evidence clearly suggests that running camps are, in fact, bizarre and unnecessary. However, if you own and/or operate one and would like me to experience it for myself in efforts to sway my harsh judgments, please leave a comment. I am nothing if not open-minded.