Part running vacation, part wellness retreat, we’ll explore Southern Iceland and the Highlands in a way that leaves you plenty of time to tune in to what drives you in running and in life. Indulge in a week of things that are sure to feed your soul: travel, adventure, fun, education and great food. 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.
Become a durable, strong, motivated runner using these tools and techniques that will keep you healthy and injury free. Immerse yourself in the powerful healing energy of this vibrant, wild landscape as you run scenic trails at a pace that is playful, relaxed and social.
Iceland Trail Running + Wellness Retreat Itinerary
Day 1 | Reykjavik
When you arrive at Reykjavik International Airport, catch a Flybus to our downtown hotel (check in time is 2 p.m.). At 5 p.m., meet your retreat leader for the official Retreat Opening and Meet + Greet. From there, we’ll walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner in downtown Reykjavik. Overnight Reykjavik.
Time on trail: no run today
Day 2 | Reynisfjara: Black Sand Beach
After breakfast, we’ll start our morning run that will take us past some of Reykjavik’s most iconic landmarks, including the Hallgrimskirkja cathedral, on our way the Perlan (“The Pearl), a museum perched on a small hill surrounded by woodlands. We’ll have our first Natural Running Form clinic on the lawn outside the Perlan, then continue our run through the forest, along an ocean inlet, then loop our way back to our hotel. Following the run is our first Wellness Workshop, followed by lunch before embarking on a three-hour drive to the southern coastal village of Vík í Mýrdal. Along the way, we’ll stop at Reynisfjara, known as the world’s most beautiful black-sand beach, where we’ll see the iconic Reynisdrangar and columnar basalt rock formations. From there it’s a short drive to the über-modern Icelandair Hotel in Vík, where we’ll have a relaxing dinner.
Time on trail: 2 – 2.5 hours (including breaks) on mostly city streets and dirt pathways
Day 3 | Vík í Mýrdal
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll meet our guides for today’s spectacular trail run along the bluff overlooking Vik’s black-sand beach. At today’s mindful running form clinic, your retreat leader will offer some valuable tips on pacing that will help make the most of today’s run. Today’s run begins in Vik and then head up to the top of a plateau overlooking Reynisfjara. If the weather is clear, we’ll get spectacular views of Dyrhólaey peninsula to the west and glacier-covered volcanoes to the north. Our looping route (with a short and longer option), eventually takes us all the way back to our hotel in Vik, where we’ll have a casual lunch followed by some free time. This evening is our second Wellness Workshop, followed by dinner at Sudurvik, a cozy, traditional restaurant situated in an old house serving their own family recipes.
Time on trail: 2.5 – 4 hours (including breaks) depending on the options you choose.
Day 4 | Þórsmörk
After breakfast, we check out of our hotel and begin the 2-hour drive to drive Þórsmörk, stopping at the famous Seljalandsfoss, the southern coast’s most photographed waterfall. We’ll have time to walk the loop trail that passes behind the waterfall, where you’ll experience up close it’s sheer power and scale. Then we’ll continue our drive into Þórsmörk Nature Reserve, a green oasis surrounded by (very active) glacier-covered volcanoes. Our driver will drop us on the valley’s south side, where we’ll start our run in the Krossa river valley bottom before doing a short, hilly loop run before crossing the Krossa river and finishing at the Volcano Huts. Upon arrival, we’ll enjoy a hot soup lunch in the main lodge before settling in to our group’s private mountain hut. Enjoy a couple of free hours to shower, relax and enjoy this beautiful place.
Time on trail: 2 – 3 hours (including breaks) on well-worn dirt trails that include some steep hiking sections and short area that are exposed to steep slopes and cliffs.
Day 5 | More in the Land of Thor
After making breakfast in the hut, we do some pre-run warm-up exercises before beginning an adventurous trail run right from our the Volcano Huts in Þórsmörk (“The Land of Thor”). Today’s run is on the Tindfjöll Circle, which begins with a gentle ascent through a native birch-tree forest, then above treeline. After passing the Trollakirja (“Troll Church”), we reach the Tindafjöll Plateau, from which we’ll enjoy amazing views of Myrdalsjökull glacier. We make a thrilling descent along Stangarhals Ridge to the Krossa river bed, and enjoy an easy run back to the Volcano Huts. Or, if you’re up for more, add on a few more miles to the top of Valahnúkur, a 1500-foot high hill overlooking the valley. We’ll have lunch in our hut followed by some free time before our afternoon Wellness Workshop. Dinner is a traditional Icelandic BBQ featuring fresh-caught, local seafood prepared by our guides.
Time on trail: 3 – 4.5 hours (including breaks) on well-worn dirt paths that at times includes exposure to steep side slopes, narrow ridges and scree (loose rock).
Day 6 | Goðaland
After making breakfast and packing up our belongings in the hut, we begin our most rewarding run yet. We’ll head out-and-back along the popular Fimmvörðuháls trail that passes between two of Iceland’s most famous glaciers. Opt for the short-and-sweet option of this run that still gives you all the views (weather permitting), or if you’re feeling adventurous, traverse the tricky Kattahryggur or “Cat’s Spine” trail that takes you way up high to a plateau with a fantastic views over the surrounding river valleys (and–if we’re lucky– the Merkurjökull and Eyjafjalljokull glaciers). After retracing our route back down to the Krossa River Valley, we’ll rendez-vous with our driver for a BBQ lunch at Basar Huts before departing for the drive back to the capitol city of Reykjavik. After checking into our hotel in the heart of downtown, we head out for dinner at one of Reykjavik’s best restaurants.
Time on trail: 2 – 3.5 hours (including breaks) on an out-and-back route that includes lot of uphill on the way out and lots of (really fun to run!) downhill on the way back.
Day 7 | The Blue Lagoon
We’ll get an early start to our final day of the retreat with a relaxed, pre-breakfast run past the famous Harpa opera house and along the waterfront for about 30 minutes. After breakfast, we’ll depart for The Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermal hot springs of milky-blue, mineral-rich waters surrounded by stark, black lava fields. After our luxurious soak and silica- and algae-mud mask treatments, we’ll have lunch in the Blue Lagoon’s fine dining room. Then it’s time for farewells and transportation either to the airport or back to downtown Reykjavik. The drop off at the Keflavik Airport is 2 p.m. Allow at least 3 hours for check in before your flight home.
Time on trail: 30 minutes on city streets and paved waterfront path
The total run distance for this retreat will be between approximately 38 and 45 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 trail running in Iceland can be challenging at times. Your retreat leader will provide mindful running tips and techniques for managing your pace and navigating the uneven terrain.
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 and at risk of over extending yourself? 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.
About 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.
Charlotte, along with her husband and two sons, now lives in Aspen, Colorado, where she teaches skiing, yoga for athletes, leads mindful running retreats for Run Wild Retreats and organizes an annual yoga festival in her home country of Denmark.
Participant Photos + Testimonials
Most Incredible Trail Running
“Hopefully, we all have a few of those really big life experiences that we look back on and say ‘that was one of the best things I’ve done.’ This retreat is one of them! I am an experienced trail runner and can say this is some of the most incredible running I have ever done.”
–Amanda S., Golden CO
Luxurious To Run Every Day
“The retreat was epic! The scenery, comradery, and beautiful trails exceeded my (very high) expectations. The beautiful weather certainly helped but I think that the spirit of the retreat–including that of Elinor, our amazing guides, and my fellow retreaters–was what made it so memorable and meaningful. It felt luxurious to be able to run every day, eat delicious meals, and have plenty of time for recovery and fun. It was a true “retreat” for me, an experience that has been imprinted on my soul (and soles!).”
–Leah M, Chandler, NC
Built my Running Confidence
“I can’t imagine running in a more beautiful place. The trails were simply fantastic, as were the guides and the group was really fun to be with. The retreat build my confidence about my running. It was the best trip I can remember.”
–Ingrid J, Vermont
“We ran through jaw-dropping scenery on terrain ranging from spongy tundra to technical trail. We saw everything from beautiful forests to scenic vistas. And since we had the rare opportunity to run with local guides, we not only learned a little of the culture, we could split into groups so we could be as challenged or relaxed as we’d like. What a great way to run in a unique location, with amazing women!”
–Amanda S., Golden, CO
Most Magical Trip
“I’m back home from the most magical trip to Iceland ever. This trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience based on the company (Run Wild Retreats + Wellness) and the weather. So grateful for the ability to travel and trail run, but also for my home, dogs, and family that I get to return to. So inspired to keep running and refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of the second training cycle!”
–Lauren N, San Jose CA
“Bravo, Elinor and Run Wild Retreats for hosting a really excellent retreat! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, loved the spectacular scenery, the people and food; and gained more confidence in my abilities as a runner. Makes me want to be better because it was such an impactful experience.”
Nothing But Spectacular
“If any of you women have wanted to go on a trail running retreat, Run Wild Retreats + Wellness has been nothing but spectacular. Well worth the money and time! Not only will you experience the beauty of a completely different landscape, eat local gourmet food, and run miles and miles, you will also make lasting friendships with some amazing women around the world.”
–Wasatch Sole Sisters, Salt Lake City, UT
About Your 7-Day, 6-Night Retreat PackageIceland Trail Running + Wellness Retreat
Package Per Person
• Comprehensive Retreat Planning Guide to help you plan your trip
• Two nights’ shared accommodation in a 3-star hotel in downtown Reykjavik (double occupancy)
• Two nights’ accommodation at the 4-star Icelandair Hotel Vik (triple or double occupancy)
• Two nights accommodation in the Volcano Huts of Húsadalur Valley (dorm-style bunk beds)
• Daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners
• Daily guided runs with professional Icelandic guides and retreat leader
• Ground transportation during the retreat
• Three Wellness Workshops
• Three Natural Running Form Clinics
• Trail snacks/energy food
• Blue Lagoon Geothermal Hot Springs Comfort Package
• Run Wild Retreats souvenirs
• Introduction to Mindful Running online program
• Transportation from the Blue Lagoon to Keflavik International Airport on the last day (arrive at 2 p.m.)
- Alcoholic drinks
- Other incidentals
- Guide gratuity
- Some ground transportation
- Travel/cancellation insurance
- Anything else not listed under “What’s Included”
Days 1 and 6: We stay in a three-star hotel in the heart of downtown Reykjavik. Rooms are superior double occupancy (with two twin beds) and include breakfast. If you are traveling alone, we will match you with a roommate. Rooms have ensuite bathrooms, hair dryer, TV, free WIFI and other essential amenities.
Days 2 and 3 We stay in the four-star Icelandair Hotel Vik in spacious triple-occupancy family suites (with three twin beds) that serves a gourmet breakfast buffet. Rooms have ensuite bathrooms, hair dryer, TV, free WIFI and other essential amenities.
Day 4 and 5: We stay in a private hut (small lodge) at the Volcano Huts in the Husadulur Valley. Despite being in a very remote mountain location, our hut and offers many modern comforts. We have an exclusive booking on a hut that sleeps 16 people (in two separate bunk rooms), includes a bathroom with flush toilet, kitchen, electricity and running water. At the nearby main lodge is free WIFI, hot showers, a bar and small gift shop. We provide bed linens, cozy comforters and towels.
Planning Your Travel
We recommend flying to Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik on or before Day 1 of the retreat. The retreat program officially begins at 5:00 p.m on Day 1. On day 7 you have the option to be dropped at the Keflavik International Airport at 2 p.m. or return to downtown Reykjavik.
This retreat is rated Level II. This means it’s suitable for you if:
- You’re comfortable running six days in a row. Our shortest run is 30 minutes, but most are between 3 to 4 hours (including hiking sections, water breaks and photo ops).
- You have some experience running on trails and have the fitness to run at least 8 miles on the road.
- You’re OK with running/hiking on trails with loose dirt, rocks, mud, and potentially one knee-deep river crossing.
- You’re OK with getting your shoes wet in small streams.
- You’re comfortable on high and exposed, and at times 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).
- You don’t mind sharing a room (single travelers are matched with roommates) and sleeping in a mountain hut (equipped with cozy bedding, pillows, towel, full bathroom, showers, electricity, WIFI and running water).
- You have (or are willing to acquire before the retreat) trail running shoes.
August 3 - 9, 2020
Book now with a deposit of $900
August 11 - 17, 2020
Book now with a deposit of $900
Iceland trail running stands alone. We’ve run in many parts of the world, yet none has delivered as much natural beauty and reward as this wild place. The ever-changing weather is a constant presence and demands our constant respect and preparedness. Our team provides the daily support and coaching you need to run well and be well.
Land of the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun, of Viking heritage and the most modern design imaginable, of magical folklore and friendly people, Iceland sits at the top of Europe with an abundance of history, metropolitan atmosphere, sublime dining and incredible natural landscapes. Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Iceland is also the land of light and darkness. The Icelandic people (who will be our guides) of whom there are only 350,000, are some of the world’s friendliest and most welcoming people, not to mention their extreme pride for their culture beautiful country.
Our daily mileage varies from 4 to 9 miles, with most of it on trails of various surfaces. Some areas will be easy (soft, packed dirt and pebble paths), while other areas will be challenging, including steep ascents and descents on trails that can become muddy when wet. For this reason, trail-running shoes are mandatory.
The weather in Iceland can be summarized in one word: wet! Prepare for wet weather so if we’re treated to sunny, dry conditions (which does happen!), then it’s a bonus. Especially when we’re running along the southern coast, it can be cool and windy, and rain is highly likely. The average daytime temperatures are in the low- to mid-fifties, though it can reach the 60s on a sunny day. In the packing list we’ll supply for you, we highly recommend lightweight rain pants and a waterproof-breathable rain jacket. It won’t be raining the whole time, but for those times it is raining, you’ll be glad to have the right gear!
The food in Iceland is rich and delicious, yet simple and not highly seasoned. Icelandic people savor the natural flavors found in the vegetables, seafood and meats that are dietary staples. You’ll enjoy fresh-caught seafood like chard, cod and haddock. Beef is rare, though lamb is another local favorite. Icelandic yogurt, butter and cheese is very rich, full of fat and flavor. Most vegetables are grown in massive geothermal-heated greenhouses found throughout the country’s inhabited areas. Have special dietary needs? Let us know in your retreat participant intake form and we’ll let you know what the options are for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free eaters.