This summer will mark the 8th year that Carrie Tollefson has held a running camp for 7th to 12th grade runners in St. Paul, MN. The registration for the “Carrie Tollefson Training Camp” for 2012 will close on July 10th, but may fill sooner, so register now if you or your child is interested. The camp dates are July 17 – 20 at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul.
Make sure to check out the video and slideshow in this article to get a better sense of what camp is all about. The video is great!
I was recently able to interview Tollefson about what happens at the camp, who’s best suited for the camp, and what campers should expect to learn by the end of their stay. Our interview is below.
1. How long have you been holding this camp? How many campers do you usually have? Give us a little of the camp’s history.
We started the camp in 2005. My sister really wanted to help me start a camp and so we thought it was the right time to go for it. She and my brother-in-law decided to tackle this with my husband and I, and we have really had fun with it. It has sort of become a family affair. We typically have on average 80 campers but this year our numbers are a little down. I switched the date and I think there are a few teams that usually come that can’t attend so there are plenty of spots available!
2. Who is right for this camp? What kind of people is this helpful for?
Anyone that likes to run and push themselves to be a better individual and athlete is perfect for this camp. It isn’t about how good someone is – this is about learning how to be a better person and runner. This camp helps me be better and I leave wanting to set World Records. It is good for anyone that wants to see what they are made of. The ages are 7th -12th grade and we offer a team discount for team members of 5 or more from a school including boys and girls teams.
3. Why St. Kates? What does St. Kates have to offer?
I train at St. Kates and it is perfect for us to train right on the campus trails and use the surrounding tracks, River Road, Fort Snelling, Minnehaha Falls, etc. I live in the Highland Park area and absolutely LOVE training here so I wanted to have camp close to my stomping ground and showcase some of the great training Minnesota has to offer right here in the Twin Cities.
Editor’s note: I’ve been to a high school cross-country meet at St. Kates before, and there are a lot of great trails that wind through the woods on the south side of campus. And River Road just a half mile from campus is my personal favorite training area!
4. Who besides you is there working with the campers?
We have many different speakers, elite athletes, family members, doctors, trainers, and sports specific specialists on hand the entire camp. We pull from our own elite staff to speak, we bring in speakers, and we even go to Lifetime Fitness to learn from the best there. It is a camp that I want to learn from as well, so I want the best to deliver the best.
5. Does the camp focus more on building speed or endurance?
Both. We incorporate endurance, speed, hills, cross-training, mental training, strength training, etc. What I try to do at camp is touch a little bit on everything that helps an athlete get the most out of themselves. I don’t try to overwhelm the kids but I do try to introduce new things to them besides just talking about putting one foot in front of the other. Running is a simple sport but if you can finely tune your training both mentally and physically, you will see improvement. So we have the athletes do a bit of everything but not too much as they are still in the summer build up. It is not my job to get them fit in those four days but get them excited to prepare for their upcoming season and ready to GET AFTER IT!
6. Logistical questions: Where do the campers sleep / eat / run? Do they always stay on campus or you venture off to run? How much running do participants actually do during the camp?
Campers and staff (including myself) stay in the dorms. We eat on campus but we usually have our own meals that we prepare or bring in. We run all over but mainly in St. Kates, on the River Road, and over by the Falls. Great, safe city running!
7. What are some of the more unexpected workouts you have the campers do?
Spin class, hip-hop class, yoga, pool workouts, circuit training, personal strength and mobility testing along with gait analysis but St. Kate Exercise Science department (so cool), and we usually do a couple running specific workouts like hill repeats, interval training, and a possible time trial at the end of camp. We have a bunch of fun but learn a ton.
8. What do you hope the participants get from the camp? How will they be changed athletes when they leave?
Running has brought so much joy to my life. It is really my passion and I just want to share that with these kids. I have learned so much about myself through sport and I want to help these athletes do the same. Being an Olympian is amazing but saying I am a runner is just as cool. It is a life long sport that teaches you about being healthy and driven at the same time. I have learned so many life lessons in this sport and that is what I want to share with these kids. When they leave camp, I want them to know how to be a great competitor on and off the track. We all have it in us to dig deep in life and sometimes we just need someone to get in our face and say GET AFTER IT!!!
Carries biography: Tollefson ran cross country and track at Villanova University where she won the 1997 NCAA Cross Country Championships and the 1999 NCAA Outdoor and Indoor 3000 meters and Outdoor 5000 meters. At the US Olympic Trials in 2004, she won the 1500 meters. She competed in the 2004 Olympic Summer Games, making it to the semi-finals in the 1500 meters. In 2004, she was ranked #1 nationally by Track and Field News. In 2006, she won the 4K race at the USA Cross Country Championships, won the 3000 meters US Indoor National Championships, and was ranked #5 nationally at the end of the season.
Click here to learn more about the camp (including an “info packet”).
Click here to register for Carrie’s training camp.
View the slideshow at the top of this article to see a few photos from the last few years of the camp.
View the video embedded in this article for a great sense of what the camp is like – it’s video clips from the 2011 Carrie Tollefson Training Camp.
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