Nothing helps you reconnect with what drives you as a runner and in life like exploring a foreign land, where every sight and sound is new and stimulating. At this women’s running and wellness retreat in Ireland, you’ll free yourself from the routine of daily life while enjoying the exhilaration of running the Emerald Isle’s most stunning and famous trails like The Wicklow Way, Valley of Glendalough, Cliffs of Moher and Killarney National Park.
You don’t need any trail running experience to participate in this retreat!
This fully guided running retreat will take you through Ireland’s most stunning natural landscapes, fascinating historic sites and off-the-beaten path trails and hidden gems that only our locally based guides know about. Freed from the burden of having to think about navigating, planning meals or taking care of others, you are able to focus fully on your self and your well-being.
Ireland Running + Wellness Retreat ItinerarySeptember 15 - 21, 2019
Day 1 | Glendalough
Our retreat begins in Dublin City, where we’ll pick you up at a central location at 1 p.m. and drive 75 minutes south to County Wicklow, where our retreat program begins. Upon arrival, we’ll check into our rooms at a family owned hotel nestled in the wooded valley of Glendalough. You’ll have some time to change your clothes before we gather for our Official Retreat Opening Meet + Greet, after which we’ll head outside for a relaxed, refreshing 4-mile shake-out run. We will run past the famous round tower and the ruins of a 12th-century cathedral, then along the boardwalk leading to Upper Glendalough Lake. After our run, you’ll have some free time to freshen up before dinner.
Run: 4 miles, 0 elevation gain/loss
Day 2 | The Wicklow Way
After breakfast, we’ll drive about 25 minutes to the trail head at Crones, where we’ll have our first Natural Running Form Clinic to warm up before starting our 8-mile point-to-point run along a spectacular and scenic stretch of The Wicklow Way. Starting on a wooded trail, we’ll gradually ascend through fields of vibrant purple heather bushes to the high country, where we’ll enjoy views of the Irish Sea and Lough Dan before descending to the Valley of Glendalough. We’ll warm up with a hot buffet lunch, then have some free time before our first of three Wellness Workshops, followed by dinner at the renowned Wicklow Heather restaurant.
Run: 8 miles
Day 3 | The Wild Atlantic Way
After enjoying an breakfast, we’ll begin our morning run in Glendalough on a spectacular loop trail overlooking the scenic lakes in the Glendalough Valley and loops around past Poulnass Waterfall. After a late checkout and casual lunch, we drive 3.5 hours across the country to the West Coast, and settle into our hotel in Ennistymon for the evening.
Run: 7 miles, 1200 feet elevation gain/loss
Day 4 | The Cliffs of Moher
After breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel take a 20-minute drive to the starting point of today’s run along the section of coast known as The Wild Atlantic Way. This point-to-point run along a grassy and gravel coastal path that takes us to the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most visited and iconic natural features.we’ll begin today’s 8-mile run along the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most photographed coastlines. We finish in the quaint village of Doolin, a noted center of traditional Irish music and have lunch in a traditional Irish pub. Then it’s a 3.5-hour drive south to County Kerry, where we’ll check into The Lake Hotel, where we’ll stay for the next three nights.
Run: 8 miles, slight rolling terrain
Day 5 | Gap of Dunloe
After breakfast, we have a 25-minute drive to Kate Kearney’s Cottage at the mouth of the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain. Today’s run is a relatively easy and relaxed 11-mile run on an historic unpaved road that we’ll share with hikers and horse-drawn carriages (colloquially called “jaunting cars”). We’ll run through Ireland’s most beautiful mountain valleys, home to pristine lakes. From the run’s end, we have a short transfer to our hotel in nearby Killarney, where you can freshen up and enjoy some time this afternoon to explore the historic village before our second Wellness Workshop followed by dinner.
Run: 11 miles, 900 feet elevation gain, 1,000 feet of loss
Day 6 | The Waterfall Run
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll have our third and final Natural Running Clinic, then start The Waterfall Run, which takes us approximately 8 miles along a route dotted with waterfalls. Starting in Killarney National Park at Galway’s Bridge, we’ll run Old Kenmare Road one of the most scenic and historic roads along the Ring of Kerry, which crosses through the Esknamucky Glen, a narrow pass between Cromaglan Mountain and Stumpacommeen high in the mountains, then finish at Torc Waterfall. This afternoon, you’ll enjoy some free time to have lunch on your own, explore Killarney before our Wellness Workshop, followed by dinner in downtown Killarney.
Run: 8 miles
Day 7 | Muckross Run and Back to Dublin
This morning, you’ll have the option to participate in an early pre-breakfast run from the hotel. After breakfast, we’ll have our Official Retreat Closing Meeting and take a moment to reflect on the week’s experiences. At 11:30 a.m., we’ll check out of our rooms and board the bus one final time for the return trip to Dublin. We’ll arrive in the city at around 4 p.m., where we say our final goodbyes before our final departures.
Optional run: 3 miles
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 Heather Lee
Heather Lee of Boulder, Colorado, is a trail runner and highly inspirational Women’s Mind/Body Wellness and Longevity Lifestyling Coach who leads several retreats a year for Run Wild Retreats + Wellness. She has spent the last 25 years developing and facilitating dynamic and transformational retreats designed exclusively for women’s lives and life transitions. Heather is a masters-level mental health professional with advanced training in mind/body medicine from the Harvard Mind/Body Medical Institute and is the past Director of the Mind/Body Medicine and Women’s Health Education programs at The University of Virginia Medical Center. Her forthcoming book: Run. A Way With Your Problems, inspires women in using running as “lifestyle medicine” for balancing emotional well-being. When Heather isn’t leading retreats she is trail running and maximizing her “midlife mojo.”
Participant Photos + Testimonials
“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!”
Refreshing and Rejuvenating
“This retreat was the perfect means to explore a beautiful country and share it with some phenomenal women. The time spent in Ireland was refreshing and rejuvenating both physically and mentally.”
–Peggy P., Denver, Co
Be in the Moment
“I learned to give myself grace on the run, be in the moment by setting an intention. Not every run has to be extreme to be incredibly rewarding.”
–Belinda E., Florence, SC
Renewed Love for Running
“Ireland was a wonderful retreat that I will treasure for a long time. I gained perspective, confidence in myself and a renewed love for running.”
–Caitlin S., Dublin, CA
About Your 7-Day, 6-Night Retreat PackageIreland Trail Running + Wellness Retreat
Package Per Person (Shared Room):
Package Per Person (Private Room):
• Six nights’ accommodation in double-occupancy rooms in high-quality hotels
• Daily breakfasts and dinners, some lunches
• Daily guided runs with local runners and retreat leader
• Ground transportation and luggage transfers
• Pick up and drop off at Dublin International Airport
• Wellness Workshops
• Natural Running Form Clinics
• Introduction to Mindful Running Program
• Guided tour of Ross Castle
• Trail snacks/energy food and drinks
• 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
We recommend flying to Dublin International Airport on or before Day 1 of the retreat. Our retreat program begins at 1 p.m. (after lunch) on Day 1. If you fly in on Day 1, you are responsible for your own transportation from the airport to the Dublin City Center.
On Day 7, you may choose to be dropped off at the Dublin International Airport at 4:00 p.m., or in the Dublin city center.
- 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 is 30 minutes, but most are around 2 to 3 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’re game for running in the rain (don’t worry about what to wear; we provide you with a comprehensive packing list).
- You have (or are willing to acquire before the retreat) trail running shoes.
September 15 - 21, 2019
SPECIAL: Book by June 30, 2019 and save $200!
Located in the Northern Atlantic, Ireland’s vast landscape is characterized by agricultural lowlands, hills, lakes and bogs surrounded by coastal mountains. Known as the Emerald Isle for its lush vegetation, this is a diverse island of extraordinary natural beauty and has a deep artistic and historical heritage.
The weather in Ireland is mild and ideal for trail running, as the country typically avoids the extreme temperature fluctuations. In September, the temperatures are typically between 48 and 55 degrees. We undoubtedly will encounter wind and some rain, however. For this reason, we recommend carrying a light wind/rain shell jacket on every run.
We spend most of our time at sea level, so elevation is not a factor in this retreat. A couple of our runs do take us into the “mountains” though these are low mountains that take us no more than a few hundred feet above sea level.
The trails we’re running are well-established, and some have been in use for millennia. The trail surfaces include dirt road, wide dirt pathways, singletrack trail and boardwalks (to traverse the shoe-sucking mud bogs!).
The traditional gastronomy, influenced by the crops grown and animals farmed in the island’s temperate climate and historical influences, is made up of meat, salted butter and potatoes. More recently, a “New Irish Cuisine” has emerged, featuring fresh vegetables, fish, traditional soda breads and a wide range of cheeses, locally made on the island. Traditional Irish Pubs, filled with Irish music, memorabilia and tavern-like warmness are an outpost of Irish culture, and popular among visitors to the island.