Join us for an amazing week of wellness, wisdom (and wine!) as we run along the Mediterranean Sea in the Costa Brava region of Catalonia. If you’ve never considered trail running in Spain, then picture this: running from historic village to village in the warm sun, while a refreshing sea breeze keeps you cool.
Staring from the ancient walled city of Girona, we’ll explore one of Spain’s most beautiful regions on foot in a way that leaves you plenty of time to tune in to what drives you in running and in life. This is your opportunity to indulge in what feeds your soul: travel, adventure, fun, mindfulness and great food. You’ll explore Medieval villages, castles and learn about this region’s rich, multicultural history and cap the week soaking in serene, mineral-rich pools inside an 2,000-year old Roman bathhouse.
Through our practical running form clinics, informative discussions, mindful movement and free time for quiet contemplation, you’ll stop the energy drains and divert your energy back into your running. Immerse yourself in the powerful healing energy of this vibrant, historic coastal landscape as you run scenic trails at a pace that is playful, relaxed and social.
Mediterranean Mindful Running Retreat ItineraryMay 2 - 8, 2020
Day 1 | Girona
Our program begins at 3:00 p.m., when we gather at our hotel in Girona for our official Retreat Opening Meeting. After introductions and a retreat orientation, we’ll meet our local guide, Pablo, for a sightseeing running tour of the city that includes the historic Jewish Quarter, the medieval wall protecting the city from invaders, a magnificent cathedral and castle turrets. Then we return to the hotel, where you have plenty of time to check in and freshen up before we visit one of Girona’s gourmet restaurants for dinner at 8:30 p.m. (all dinners will be at this time, which is the earliest time restaurants open for dinner).
Time on trail: approx. 90 minutes with some stairs, cobblestone streets and secret trails and hills
Day 2 | Calella de Palafrugell
After breakfast at the hotel, we take a short drive outside the city to Les Gavarres forest, where we will begin today’s run that begins in the late morning on a soft-dirt forest trail and takes out to the spectacular stretch of rugged coastline that is Costa Brava. We’ll enjoy the cool breeze from the Mediterranean Sea as we run slowly along rocky pathways that traverse cute coves and beaches taking us to the fishing village of Palafrugell. You’ll have the afternoon free to relax before a Mindful Running Workshop at the hotel, and then dinner. Tonight we stay at a family-run boutique hotel in Calella de Palafrugell overlooking the Mediterranean.
Time on trail: 2-3 hours (including breaks) on forest trails, sandy beach and rocky coastal pathway with some short, steep sections along sea cliffs
Day 3 | Medieval Village of Pals
After enjoying a delicious breakfast overlooking the sea, we’ll take a short drive to an historic lighthouse where we’ll have our second Natural Running Form Clinic overlooking the sea. Then we’ll begin today’s run along the enjoy stunningly beautiful along the coast line, along rocky pathways and past the village of Tamariu. You have the option to end your run here, or else continue along a forested inland trail that ends at the historic site, Begur Castle. From there, it’s a short drive to the restored medieval village of Pals, where we’ll enjoy locally made paella, Catalonia’s signature seasoned rice dish. Then we check into our rooms at El Convent, a converted medieval monastery, where we’ll enjoy some free time to savor the serene outdoor pool, before dinner in the dining room.
Time on trail: 3 – 4 hours on uphill/downhill trails (including breaks) that include rocky, rooty sections, sandy beaches and dirt trails. No part of this trail is flat, and you’ll enjoy a wide range of scenery throughout.
Day 4 | Cadequés
After breakfast at El Convent, we drive one hour to the nearby town of Roses, situated on the edge of the Parc Natural de Cap de Creus. This wild region of Costa Brava features numerous hidden coves and cliffs, forming a rugged yet beautiful landscape shaped by the elements. Today we enjoy on more runnable terrain that takes us northward, deep into the rocky terraced hills that in ancient times teemed with agriculture. While practicing mindful pacing techniques and running efficiency, we’ll run up and over a view large hills before ending our run in beautiful Cadequés. If you’re not up for today’s point-to-point run, you have the option to drive with our assistant guide to Cadequés and enjoy some free time there.
Here you’ll have the entire afternoon free to explore the village before dinner. We’ll spend the next two nights at the same hotel here in Cadequés.
Time on trail: 3 – 4 hours (including breaks) with some sustained uphills in the first half (and hiking is totally allowed!), then a long downhill run on dirt road the last 2 miles.
Day 5 | Cap de Creus Natural Park
After breakfast, we begin our run from the hotel and take a meandering route out into the Cap de Creus, aiming to reach the lighthouse (weather permitting). After enjoying a refreshment on the cafe patio at the lighthouse, continue on rocky trails through a unique landscape that inspired some of Salvador Dali’s famous artwork. This afternoon allows free time to lounge by the hotel pool, browse the artisan shops or visit a winery. Later afternoon, we’ll have our third Mindful Running Workshop, follow by another outstanding dinner at a family run restaurant.
Time on trail: 2 – 4 hours (including breaks) on a mix of roads, dirt tracks and very rocky trails through sea coves. The time range represents the many variations available on this to run to shorten or extend as you feel.
Day 6 | Port de la Selva
After breakfast at the hotel, we start our final run of the retreat, a rewarding climb along a ridge overlooking the port town of Port de la Selva, situated on the north cape of Cap de Creus. Now a fishing and tourism destination, Port de la Selva has been inhabited for over a millennium, and is home to numerous archaeological remains. After our run, we’ll visit an 11-century monastery called Sant Pere de Rodes. After a self-guided tour of this impressive, beautifully restored fortification, we’ll have lunch in Port de la Selva before embarking on the 1.5-hour drive back to Girona, check into the hotel and enjoy our final dinner together.
Time on trail: 2 – 2.5 hours (including breaks) on dirt roads and forested singletrack trails on a mostly downhill route
Day 7 | Retreat Closing + Spa Day
Enjoy breakfast at your leisure at our hotel, followed by our official Retreat Closing Meeting before our staggered spa appointments at the Aqua Banys Romans Spa, a short walk from the hotel. Appointments will begin between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and take approximately 2.5 hours to fully enjoy spa’s pools and sauna paired with a one-hour relaxation massage. (We will do our best to book those leaving earlier in the first time slots, while those leaving later will be booked later). Any time after your spa treatment, you head to the Girona train station to take the bus or train to Barcelona downtown or the airport.
No group run today
The total run distance for this retreat will be between approximately 30 and 38 miles. Each day’s run in this itinerary is represented by time spent on the trail rather than miles run because the mileage covered will depend largely on your run pace. Faster runners will cover more mileage than slower runners on some days. These run times include breaks to enjoy the views, take photos, eat and drink. The precise route and trails run may change due to changes to trail routes, weather conditions, guide recommendations and other safety considerations.
Note that the footing on the coastal trails can be challenging at times. Your retreat leader will provide mindful running tips and techniques for managing your pace and navigating the uneven terrain. While this retreat’s mileage is low, the running is far from easy!
Wellness WorkshopsHow mindful running helps you stress less and run more
Part I: Stress and Runners
Where does your energy go? Do you ever feel too tired to run? Do you ever feel so overwhelmed at the prospect of starting a training plan that you give up before you’ve begun? Do your long runs or hard workouts so wiped out that you’re pretty much useless the rest of the day? Discover what feeds your energy and what depletes your energy and how to stop the energy leaks.
Part II: Mitigating the Effects of Stress
How do you know if you're doing enough to build your fitness and reach your goals, but not so much that you're becoming depleted? You’ll design your own mindful running practice that will allow you to fulfill your goals and run with confidence. Discover how mindful breathing improves your running efficiency and dial down the stress response in any situation.
Part III: Values Inform Intentions
Running is an important part of your personal self-care routine, and yet, it can be so hard to prioritize sometimes. Fulfilling your potential is about living in alignment with your values. These mindful intention-setting exercises allows you to align your approach to running with you values around wellness, self care and fitness. Come away with a clear approach to balancing health with life's demands.
Natural Running Form ClinicsUse mindful running to be more efficient and recover faster
Part I: Power Posture
Use proper alignment to make gravity do more of the work. This reduces the muscular force involved with running so it feels easier and less strenuous on muscles and joints.
Part II: Focus on Efficiency
Use natural running techniques to drastically improve efficiency. You'll practice changing stride length, cadence and tempo on various types of terrain.
Part III: Find Flow
Put the pieces together to achieve the ultimate trail running experience. Learn to cultivate the circumstances for flow to occur by being relaxed and mindful.
Meet your Retreat Leader: Charlotte Roennau
Charlotte Roennau is a former professional sprinter who has evolved into a mindful long-distance runner whose priority now is to run for fun. Once known as Denmark’s fastest woman, Charlotte’s competitive mindset was wired for goal setting, performance and achievement. But as career stakes rose—along with them, the pressure to perform—she discovered the drawbacks to gold medals. Failing to qualify for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona in the 400 meter hurdles led Charlotte to period of depression.
Putting her track career behind her, Charlotte forged a new career path that combined her sports-science degree with a new interest in mindfulness and yoga. Charlotte spent a decade using sports as a tool to create peaceful co-existence, social cohesion and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Her work with Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) and Global Education through Sports (GES) brought the core values of sports to bring kids, families, communities and cities together in conflict areas with respect for diversity, religion, culture and gender.
Participant Photos + Testimonials
“You won’t find a better run retreat with such outstanding trails, accommodations, meals and staff.”
–Mindi P., Annapolis, MD
“This retreat far exceeded my expectations! It gave me an opportunity to learn where I can go with my running and I love connecting with all the awesome, inspiring women!”
–Maude B, Rochester, NY
Learned to Listen
“This retreat gave me a chance to escape from the daily pressures of life, and focus on me, what I want from my running practice and connecting with other women who love running. I learned how to use perceived exertion as a measure to guide me in my runs. It’s so easy to override what my body is telling me, and let numbers and data suck the joy out of running. Now I know how to get more satisfaction from how I feel than I ‘perform.’”
Joanne T., Spokane, WA
Retreat was a Dream
“This last week has been a dream. Run Wild Retreats put together a fantastic trail-running trip that improved my form and solidified a lot of what I’ve been thinking about running more mindfully.”
–Tracey S., Atlanta, GA
Organic and Relaxed
“I was concerned about going on a ‘scheduled’ vacation, but it didn’t feel scheduled at all. Everything was so well planned and coordinated, one experience just rolled into the next and I didn’t have to think about anything except having fun. I actually didn’t even realize anything was scheduled or coordinated, it just felt so organic, relaxed and fun!”
Trip of a Lifetime
“It was a trip of a lifetime and I would encourage anyone to take a leap of faith and register for a retreat. I went alone and came away with lasting friendships and memories”
–Tracy S., Scottsdale, AZ
Guides Were Great
“The guides were great, accommodations were fantastic and trails were perfect and the workshops were well done.”
–Sharon C., Edgewater, MD
Letting Go Lets Me Be More Present
“By not tying my runs to definitive or quantitative markers like the number of miles run or the time per mile, I can enjoy more the spiritual aspect of my running. Letting go of “the admin side” allows me to be more present or mindful with each run. I have a renewed love for my running practice.”
–Sharon C., Edgewater, MD
Everything Was Well Planned
“Run Wild Retreats offers a unique experience of learning more about running, exploring the great outdoors and embracing travel and adventure in a way I have not experienced before. Everything about the trip was well planned, organized and considerate to each runner’s needs.”
–Tracy S., Scottsdale, AZ
Loved the Group Energy
“I highly recommend the retreats! They are great way to energize your running and help with motivation. I heard several people mention how they usually run by themselves and they were surprised by how much fun it was to run in a group. I loved the energy of running in this group and it motivated me to run more.”
–Kathy B., Calgary, Canada
Wonderful, Worthwhile Adventure
“The friendships between the runners grew each day. It was great fun. Delicious food. Beautiful location. Energizing runs. Wonderful, worthwhile adventure!”
–Kathy O., Los Gatos, CA
About Your 7-Day, 6-Night Retreat PackageMediterranean Mindful Running Retreat
Package Per Person (Shared Room):
Package Per Person (Private Room):
• Six nights’ accommodation in luxury boutique hotels
• Daily breakfasts
• Three-course Gourmet dinners (including wine)
• Two-hour wellness experience at Aqua Banys Romans Spa
• Gourmet Paella lunch in Pals
• Lunch at Sant Pere de Rhodes Monestary
• Professional running guides
• Ground transportation/ luggage handling between hotels
• Mindful Running Workshops
• Natural Running Form Clinics
• Run Wild Retreats gift bag
• Retreat Planning Guide
- Alcoholic drinks
- Other incidentals
- Guide gratuity
- Some ground transportation
- Travel/cancellation insurance
- Anything else not listed under “What’s Included”
We are staying in high-quality hotel rooms each night. These rooms all have two twin beds and ensuite bathrooms that you will share with one other person if you book a shared room, or on your own if you book a private bedroom.
Planning Your Travel
Fly to Barcelona El Prat Airport at least one day before the retreat begins. From the Barcelona airport, it’s an easy train ride (or bus ride) to Girona. The retreat begins at 3:00 pm in the afternoon, so please arrive well before this time in order to check into your room and change into your running clothes.
On day 7 of the retreat, your spa appointment time will start between 11 and 2 p.m. and take 2.5 hours, so we recommend booking a return flight no earlier than the evening of Day 7, or the following day. There is direct bus service from the Girona Train Station (a short walk or taxi ride from our hotel) to the Barcelona El Prat Airport that costs around 19 Euros. Learn more here.
GETTING FROM BARCELONA TO GIRONA:
To get to Girona, you may take the Barcelona Airport Train C2 to Estacio Sants, where you change trains. There are numerous trains travelling from Estacio Sants to Girona – approximately three every hour. On average the journey lasts about 1 hour 20 minutes and costs 10 Euros. Check the RENFE Website for the train times.
(If you are arriving into Terminal 1 (T1) you will not be able to walk straight to the train station, as it is 4 km away. You will need to take a shuttle bus from outside the terminal.)
We will adopt the Spanish meal teams, meaning that breakfasts start at 8 am and dinners at 8:30 p.m. For this reason, our daily runs usually begin around 10 or 11 a.m., and end around 2 p.m. in time for a casual lunch.
- This retreat is rated Level II. This means it’s suitable for you if:
- You’re comfortable running/hiking six days in a row. Our shortest run (including breaks) is 90 minutes, but most are around 3 to 4 hours (including hiking sections, water breaks and photo ops).
- You’re OK with running/hiking on trails with loose dirt, rocks and some muddy sections.
- You are fit enough to handle uphill hiking sections of trail that can range from 10 minutes to 1 hour
- You’re OK with some exposure to sea cliffs and narrow trails
- You’re game for running in the rain (don’t worry about what to wear; we provide you with a comprehensive packing list).
May 2 - 8, 2020
Save your spot with a deposit of $900.
Costa Brava, in Catalonia, Spain is located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, covering the coastal towns and villages of the beautiful province of Catalonia. It is home to some of the most delightful towns, villages and beaches along this 300 km stretch of the Mediterranean Sea. Backing into the Pyrenees along the French border, Costa Brava is a diverse region of extraordinary natural beauty and has a very deep artistic and historical heritage. Its natural beauty giving inspiration to famous artists such as Salvador Dali, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.
Our daily mileage may be short (runs are typically 4.5 – 8 miles), but these trails present some challenges! Previous trail-running experience isn’t necessary, as your retreat leader will provide you with important tips and tools for navigating technical terrain and pacing yourself on these hilly trails. We’ll run on all kinds of surfaces, from rocky trails to smooth dirt forest paths, along cobblestone streets and short sections of dirt road. We’ll stop frequently along the way to take photos, have a snack and sip our water.
The weather this time of year is ideal for running: not yet too hot, though highly likely to be sunny and in the 60’s or 70’s with a refreshing Mediterranean Sea breeze to keep us cool. Spring rain showers are possible (usually intermittent), so we recommend bringing a lightweight water-resistant running jacket.
Bring your appetite! This region’s cuisine in renowned throughout Europe, as Catalonia boasts the greatest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in all of Europe. And you’ll see why, even at the casual, family run restaurants at which we dine. Local dishes feature locally grown and harvested ingredients such as fish and seafood with fresh vegetables, olives, olive oil and rice. Most special dietary needs can be easily accommodated.