FIRST®  Adult Running and Learning Retreat


The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) Adult Running & Learning Retreat is designed for runners wishing to optimize their training, maximize their running performance, and minimize injuries.  

Our 2020 Running Retreat will be held May 21-24.  

Click the link to access the brochure.  FIRST Adult Running and Learning Retreat May 2020.  

The May retreat is full.  You may e-mail Lonita Stegall​​ or call her at 864.294.3416 to be placed on a waiting list.  If interested in a June 4-7 retreat, contact Lonita Stegall.



Since 2007, FIRST® has conducted running retreats for adult runners. These four-day FIRST® Retreats provide adult runners of all abilities the opportunity to learn more about themselves as athletes, the sport of running, and how to become the best runner possible for themselves. Our goal is to stimulate a love for running in adult athletes by sharing information on how to develop an effective training program. As runners and physiologists, we hope to offer an unforgettable learning and running experience no matter your age or skill level. Our mission is to provide athletes with the tools to improve and to enjoy life-long running.




From Retreat Participants that I could thank you in person for the wonderful experience the retreat was. You have created a unique and valuable program and you and everyone associated with FIRST® was overwhelmingly generous with their time, energy and support.  

I look forward to testing the program and (hopefully) reporting a faster 5-K time from a future race.  Thank you again for a terrific experience.  --RS  


Thank you all very much for all the experience at the retreat. It was an unexpected treasure.
Cheers, FD


...Thanks to all of you for a great Retreat! I have learned so much from each and every one of you, and I will never forget this experience. Your experience and knowledge will continue to be a great inspiration to me.



...It has been an absolute honor to meet and work with you over the past few days, I certainly have enjoyed getting to you know you too. I will cherish this experience forever. Of course the Retreat has been extremely beneficial, I am looking forward to putting it into practice. Words cannot express my gratitude for everything I have learned. I cannot wait to really start training effectively and also to learn more! I believe we had a great group, and that really added to the whole experience.  

Your generosity, sincerity, and kindness are second to none, and I have the utmost respect for your knowledge and experience. The caliber of the entire FIRST
® staff is amazing to me. I have already been gushing to friends and family about the retreat, and what great people run this program and make it special. SB  


Bill, I wanted to thank you in person again for sharing your knowledge, time and hospitality. I know a lot of hard work and effort goes into running the FIRST® retreats, but you and the staff made the it so much more than I expected- truly awesome. And I loved all of the interesting and quirky runners I met; we had a good group!

All the best,


Your staff is impressive, very professional, yet the entire experience was up close and personal. My job is one where I constantly am evaluating performance with the resources at hand. I can not think of one change I would make in what I experienced.
  Thank you very much. MA  


Do we just run?

The main focus of this retreat is not on the actual running at all. While daily runs will take place, the majority of the retreat will be spent learning about yourself as a runner and athlete. A comprehensive battery of laboratory performance tests will contribute to your knowledge of yourself as a runner. By using a scientific approach to your training, you will increase the likelihood of achieving your running potential. The retreat will include FIRST®'s 3 plus 2 training plan. The plan includes three key weekly running workouts that are supplemented with cross training and strength and flexibility training.

How can the FIRST® Adult Running and Learning Retreat help me?

Runners will be given a firsthand opportunity to work with experienced and successful runners and coaches, including the founders of the FIRST® program at Furman University. All runners will receive an individualized training plan upon completion of the program. Educational sessions are scheduled throughout the day, interspersed with lab testing assessments, training runs, demonstrations and social opportunities.

Your extended weekend will feature the following:
  • Maximal Oxygen Consumption Test (VO2max)
  • Lactate Profile
  • Body Composition
  • Demonstration of Biomechanics and Gait Analysis
  • Individualized Training Plan
  • Many educational sessions and demonstrations
  • Unlimited access to the FIRST® staff
  • Scenic runs
You will also learn about the FIRST® Training Plan (3 plus 2 method, featured in Runner's World magazine), nutrition, strength training for runners, cross training to enhance your running, stretching and flexibility training, injury prevention, proper running form, how to design an effective training plan, and the psychology of running and racing. What kind of runners come to the retreat?

All kinds! Everyone from novices to seasoned competitors are welcome and encouraged to attend. It's fun to share experiences with those who have "been there" as well as those who are just learning about our favorite sport. Participants include runners from all across the continent. 

Where do we run?

Our runs will take place on the campus of Furman University, in the Greenville community, and in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

How far do we run each day?

Spending time putting in the mileage is not the primary focus of the retreat. The goal of the retreat is to educate runners about their sport. For the most part, one key run will occur each day of the retreat. The total time of running each day will be between an hour and an hour and a half. 

Where is Furman University?

The FIRST® Adult Running and Learning Retreat will be held at Furman University, just 6 miles north of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. The 750-acre campus includes a scenic lake, 36 major buildings including 490,000-plus volume library, science building with over $6 million of scientific equipment, computer science and mathematics building, high-tech social sciences building, 2,000-seat auditorium, music complex with recital halls and technology lab, theatre, visual arts building, infirmary, classroom building with Humanities Center, student center, residence halls, dining hall, physical activities center, and chapel. Also on campus are a 16,000-seat football stadium, athletic fields, tennis center, soccer stadium, multi-purpose arena, and 18-hole golf course.


Any off-campus events will include transportation provided by the retreat, and a car is not needed to get around Furman's campus. Airport transportation can be provided if necessary.

Where do we stay?

Runners will stay at the Hampton Inn Hotel located in Travelers Rest, SC approximately 1-1/2 miles from campus.

What's the food like?

Breakfast is provided by the hotel. All other food for the retreat will be provided by Furman University's Catering Services department. All meals will be health-conscious, including a nutritional analysis of all items. Vegetarian options will also be provided. 

Retreat Training

Thursday - Treadmill, approximately 30 minutes
Friday - Drills and interval workout
Saturday - Cross training and strength training
Sunday - Tempo run, 20-30 minutes

Tentative Daily Schedule

7:00 am - Breakfast
8:30 am - Educational Session/Lab Demonstration
10:00 am - Form Drills
11:00 am - 3 plus 2 run
12:45 pm - Lunch
1:45 pm - Educational Session/Participation
3:15 pm - Educational Session/Participation
4:15 pm - Optional easy run
5:30 pm - Dinner
7:00 pm - Educational Session
8:30 pm - Evening Social Activity

What to Bring 

  • Running apparel (for 4 days of running)
  • 2 pairs of running shoes
  • Casual clothes and shoes
  • Sweatshirt / rain gear / light jacket
  • Personal toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc.)
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun Glasses
  • Inhaler (if needed)
  • Insect repellant

What Not to Bring

FIRST® Adult Running and Learning Retreat does not accept any responsibility for the loss, damage or theft of participants' gear. Furman University prohibits drug and alcohol use on campus.

Medical Information

Furman University has a physician and/or nurse on staff from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. In case hospitalization is required, each runner must be fully covered by his/her own health and accident insurance policy. A Physician's Statement is enclosed and required for all runners. Runners who are allergic to bee stings must bring their own anti-venom kits on each run. Any runners with preexisting medical conditions, such as asthma, high blood pressure, or taking medications, must identify themselves at registration.

How do I get to Furman?

From Asheville, N.C., and points northwest, take I-26 to Hendersonville , N.C. , then U.S. 25 South. In Travelers Rest, S.C., bear left onto U.S. 276 to Greenville (just past the Hampton Inn). Stay on U.S. 276 to the Furman exit.

From Charlotte, N.C., and points northeast
, take I-85 to the I-385 exit into downtown Greenville. Go past the Bi-Lo Center (on your right). This road becomes Beattie Place. Follow Beattie Place (which becomes College Street) until bearing right onto U.S. 276 West toward Travelers Rest and Hendersonville. Continue five miles to Furman exit.

From Atlanta, Ga., and points southwest
, take I-85 to Exit 42 (I-185 Greenville). Follow I-185 into Greenville , where I-185 becomes Mills Avenue, then Church Street. Turn left (at the First Citizens Bank Tower) from Church Street onto Beattie Place (which becomes College Street). Follow Beattie Place until bearing right onto U.S. 276 West toward Travelers Rest and Hendersonville. Continue five miles to Furman exit.

From Columbia, S.C., and points southeast
, take I-26 to I-385. Continue on I-385 approximately 43 miles into downtown Greenville . Go past the Bi-Lo Center (on your right). This road becomes Beattie Place. Follow Beattie Place (which becomes College Street) until bearing right onto U.S. 276 West toward Travelers Rest and Hendersonville. Continue five miles to Furman exit.

Once on campus
, to reach the Physical Activities Center by car from the front gate, travel halfway around the main traffic circle. Look for signs and turn right just after the Hartness Welcome Center and Alester G. Furman Administration Building. Follow this street to a traffic circle. The PAC faces the traffic circle. You may park in the area set aside for PAC visitors to the left of the facility.

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