Summer training will always have it’s ups and downs. For many, the summer features high mileage weeks with a variety of solo runs through the neighborhoods around your house. Over the years, I know that I have trained myself into boredom grinding away, alone on tedious and comparable runs. Often times, you need a change. Maybe it’s a new perspective, a new trail or some new training partners. Regardless, you need something new. That’s why a Summer Cross Country Camp might be a good idea for you.
One of those camps is the Hawk Harrier XC Camp (www.hawkharrierxc.com) from August 16th to the 21st. The camp is located in Darlington, Maryland which is about an hour drive from Philadelphia and features athletes and coaches from a variety of different states and backgrounds. For example, previous years the camp has featured runners like Sarah Walker and Nick Dahl from GFS, Brianna Gess from Haddonfield NJ (4:48), Shawn Hutchinson from Bishop Eustace (Foot Locker Finalist) and more. However, it’s important to note that the camp has a strong mix of runners from a variety of ability levels with boys ranging from 5:30 milers to state champions. Once everyone arrives, the groups are split based on these ability levels to maximize training efficiency.
The training is overseen by experienced coaches on some of the best surfaces available. There is a flat river trail with a forgiving surface (similar to the Wissahickon Trails/Valley Green for those who have been) as well as a good mix of up hills and downhills, shade and wooded trails. http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/parkmaps/susquehanna_map_nopoints.gif The coaching staff features some talented runners including former NCAA All-Americans and a sub two minute half miler LaTavia Thomas. She currently competes for the NYNJ Track Club and has raced at top competitions both nationally and internationally.
Beyond simply running, athletes will have individualized attention for things like form and flexibility while also learning a variety of different beneficial supplemental work. This includes sessions like medicine ball, plyometirics, hurdle mobility, and gait analysis but also NCAA recruiting and nutrition. It’s an excellent opportunity to become a well-rounded runner and seek advice from those who have been in their shoes.
The best benefit is probably the opportunity to spend a week away with friends and teammates while meeting new people. Everyone knows the distance runner personality and even now as a college graduation, my best friends are still guys that I ran with back in high school and college. The times when we were able to get away together as a team and get in good, hard training with little other priorities was always fantastic. At Hawk Harrier, the campers will have a good amount of free time to relax and hang out in addition to their training. They have access to the pool and various sports activities like wiffleball, Frisbee or volleyball. The camp also embraces the competitive spirit of it’s athletes with a weekly volleyball and tug o’ war contest for bragging rights.
If you truly love the sport and want to make the most of your summer training experience, I strongly consider researching what camps or other opportunities are available to you this summer, even if it isn’t this camp. You only have so many opportunities to get away and immerse yourself in the sport and the lifestyle. There is so much to learn when you go out into the running community, not simply from coaches and mentors but from your peers.
Registration will be open up through the first day of camp for those interested. If you are looking for more information, check out the website above or follow Hawk Harrier on twitter and/or Facebook.