I have attended eight ZAP Fitness camps or its predecessor, Maine Running Camp. The first year I attended I kept notes from each lecture or seminar I attended. With all my previous running experience, I could not believe how much I learned. Eight years later, I have the same notebook. It is filled with notes from every talk from each year’s camp. I’ll take it with me when I return this July.
Because of the magnificent mountain trails, the running is invigorating and relaxing. All runs are flexible to meet the needs of each runner.
With the running, seminars and other activities, there is still plenty of time to relax and enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains and Blackberry Canyon. Although there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, nothing is mandatory, not even the runs. You set your own schedule and no one bothers you. I always find time for a late afternoon nap in the hammock. Remember, it is a vacation.
I had taken some time off from running and I was looking for something to get me started back. The scenery around the camp looked beautiful and the dirt carriage running trails were inviting. The price was extremely affordable. The pleasant surprise was the amount I learned about running, fitness, diet, strength and stretching, and race tactics. The most unforeseen plus was the friendships I made with other campers. At the Rocket City Marathon last December I ran into a member of the camp staff from 1999. I immediately started recalling his talk on running and aging and how his points had come true as I have gotten older. I travel a great deal on business and I occasionally get to run with someone I met from camp who lives in another state. I have even been in the wedding party of a couple I met at camp.
Listening to running greats like Bill Rodgers and legendary coaches who attended ZAP, I have improved my running and fitness. Two years ago I learned a new approach to running hills and it has helped my racing. Also, I am better at avoiding injury. I have developed a better understanding of the history of the sport and a keener sense of its perspective.
The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and approachable. At the end of camp, each person sits with one of the coaches and develops a personalized running program.
Also, I have a network of running friends throughout the world that I keep in touch with or get a chance to visit on occasion.
The purpose of camp is to improve your running. Your goal could be anything from setting PR’s to qualifying for the Boston Marathon to running your first 5K. Many people think they are not good enough to attend a running camp. At ZAP it is not about how good you are, it’s about how good you want to be. Take a look at the camp photos on the ZAP website. You’ll find someone in those pictures who resembles you.