Smoky Mountain Coaches Workshop

Smoky Mountain Coaches Workshop
Smoky Mountain Coaches Workshop

The Smoky Mountain Running Coaching Workshop offers a special learning opportunity for beginning coaches and even veteran coaches, looking for a more scientific approach to coaching your cross country teams.

The workshop is offered in conjunction with the Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp.  The curriculum is based on Coach Roy Benson's book, "The Secret Workouts,' Coachly Wisdom about Effort Based Training."  The workshop teaches the principles of hard/easy training and gives coaches the tools to individualize workouts by tying together pace, pulse, and perceived exertion.

Coaches are invited to attend Camp with their teams.  Coaches are also invited to run daily with the camp on the National Forest trails.    

Highlights Include

  • Superior facilities: beautiful campus surroundings, state-of-the-art track facility and new Wellness Center.
  • Coaches are encouraged to accompany their cross country teams and attend the Coaches Workshop covering the latest in training and racing techniques.
  • The workshop runs concurrently with the youth camp session.
  • View more details »

Dates & Prices

Meet Camp Coaches

Tom Williams
Camp Director

Tom Williams

Tom Williams returned as the head coach for the women's cross country team at the University of North Georgia in 2014, two years after the first season back on the map for the cross country program.

Read Full Bio

Before making his way back to North Georgia, Williams coached the boys and girls cross country teams at Walton High School for 20 years. Coach Williams’ girls and boys cross country teams qualified for the State Championships in the last 12 and 14 years respectively, of his tenure.

He served as head coach of the men's and women's cross country programs at North Georgia in 2009 before both programs were discontinued.

The Walton High School legend was named GACA State Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2002, and has earned GACA Region Coach of the Year honors on 12 different occasions, including at the end of last season. Williams has also garnered GACA Region Track & Field Coach of the Year honors 11 different times, while the Marietta Daily Journal has honored him with 18 different cross country and track & field awards in the last 20 years.

The Rittman, Ohio native is a graduate of Geneva College (Beaver Falls, Penn.), where he also played football and ran track. Williams earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Geneva and went on to receive a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University and an Education Specialist from Jacksonville State University.

Camp Details

Celebrating our 45th year!  

  • The SMRC Coaches Workshop runs concurrently with a SMRC youth camp session
  • July 2-7, 2017

Coaches will be able, should they choose, to join with staff and campers for daily runs. They will also have access to the weight room and modest pool. If they bring campers and desire to watch their videos of running form, special arrangements can be made. Individual consults are also possible and visitation with staff coaches at the coaches hospitality room is encouraged.

The Smoky Mountain Running Camp puts great emphasis on teaching runners the wisdom of the hard/easy training philosophy developed by the late, great U of Oregon coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. To implement the Bowerman philosophy, we use Coach Benson's Effort Based Training Program to allow the whole camp to run the same appropriate effort while allowing each group to train at their individualized paces based on their current fitness, over-all ability and general goals. The instruction is serious and the training is right for this time of the summer.

More Important Camp Details

Coaches are invited to bring their teams.  Team offerings include:

Our Advanced Placement (AP) Cross Country Class is offered during all camp sessions for those elite runners who desire college level instruction about the Art & Science of Running. Sign-up details will be available at registration. No advanced sign-up is required.

Middle School Program: (July 2-7 only) We have modified our high school program and created a separate curriculum and activity schedule that will be offered concurrently with the high school schedule. We feel extremely confident that this will provide a satisfying experience for these younger runners.

This is an instructional camp and not a week of "normal" training. The middle school runners will be running twice a day, but it will be instructional based running. Think of a playing lesson with a golf pro. The intent is not necessarily to shoot your best round but to gain insight and knowledge on how to be your best over time.

Pre-Existing Conditions: The Smoky Mountain Running Camp offers an extremely challenging athletic training program. Running on wild forest trails offers pitfalls, challenges and wild life. Please DO NOT come to camp if you have any pre-existing injuries, are not completely healthy and ready to run a minimum of 20-25 miles during camp.

We discourage runners with bee sting allergies from attending our program. If you choose to attend, you must carry an epinephrine pen at all times and understand that on some of our trails, if anything goes wrong, we cannot get you to medical help within the half hour. Please study the waiver carefully.

**Our operations on National Forest System Lands are authorized under Special Use Permit by the Pisgah National Forest 

2017 Check-in & Check-out Details:

Check-in: HIghsmith Student Center between 1-3:30pm.
Check-out: Highsmith Student Center between 12-1pm.


Coaches stay in air conditioned dorms, 2 bedrooms, connected with a bath. 


Airport: Asheville North Carolina Airport (20 mins from campus). Airport pick-ups will be available for $20 each way.

  • Preferred Flight Arrival: 10:00 – 11:00 AM Sunday
  • Preferred Flight Departure: 2:00 – 3:00 PM Friday


Bus transportation is available for coaches and campers attending SMRC. Information will be posted at a later date. 


Located at the University of North Carolina- Asheville, in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, the camp is one of the oldest in the country. Coachess stay in air conditioned dorms, 2 bedrooms, 2 per room, with shared bath.  

The Smoky Mountain Running Camp operates on National Forest System Lands and are authorized under Special Use Permit by the Pisgah Natinal Forest.

Sample Daily Schedule

  • 7:00am Breakfast
  • 7:45-9:00am Class- example: Effort Based Training Components-nomograms/ Periodicity
  • 9:15-10am Guest Speaker
  • 10:30-12:00 Optional forest run
  • 12:00pm Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30pm Class- example: Plans and Patterns
  • 4:00-5:00pm Observing pacing practice
  • 5:00pm Dinner
  • 7:00-8:00pm Class- example: Variable pacing
  • Social hour each evening

Camper Reviews

Coach SCoach and Parent of a camper

  • 5/5.

Dear XC Parent(s),
We live in the mid-atlantic region and had plenty of running camps to choose from in the area.  We kept hearing about the Nike SMRC and decided to register and make the long drive to western North Carolina.  My daughter as a middle school camper and me in the coaches’ camp.  The camp had a great balance between the physical, mental, and social aspects of the sport of cross country.  My daughter’s depth of knowledge increased significantly and the results are starting to show as we enter the xc season.  I have incorporated most of the content I learned at SMRC coaches’ camp into my program. I am excited about the future of my cross country program and look forward to attending camp next summer.

Read All 5 Reviews
  • 5/5.
This was my first time at the Smokey Mountain Running Camp. Although I had no athletes there, I learned a lot of practical tactics that I actually implemented with my cross country team. For instance, dividing the team into groups and having them work at getting as close to a targeted pace as possible. It must have worked since my girls' team broke two school records (5K individual time and top 5 total team time) multiple times and had their best year in school history (won the city championships and recorded their best ever state meet finish). The experience of Roy, Jerry, and the GT coaches really helped me. I didn't know what the heck a foam roller was, now, after learning about it from the GT coaches, it is a daily part of our workout routine.
  • 5/5.

I would highly recommend this camp to any new coach. I spent the week surrounded by very knowledgeable coaches eager to share their wealth of coaching advice. This was the most amazing experience and I look forward to returning next year.

  • 5/5.

As both a coach and a parent, I highly recommend the Smoky Mountain Running Camp and Workshop. They provided a great week of running, teaching, and learning in a safe and positive environment.

  • 5/5.
Great training, great results!

Over the past several years I have been an assistant coach. We have taken our team to camp, in fact we helped initiate the addition of middle school to SMRC. With the program and techniques taught at SMRC we have been fortunate to have the third place team in the inaugural middle school state championship and the last two years as middle school state champs. Our top girls have attended SMRC each year they have run for us. We are grateful for the coaches and program that exists and has given us a tool to develop the program we have. I highly recommend SMRC to all coaches teams or individual athletes there is something for any stage of running ability or need. Top runners can learn more and benefit from the program.

Camp Dates & Prices

For additional camp information and dates call us at 1-800-NIKE-CAMP we would be happy to help you.