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September 19, 2018

Presented by Bill Hackney, Director of Middle School Program, Coach
Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp

SMRC coach Bill Hackney gives youngsters Caribbean lift-off

Nike Smoky Mountain Bermuda Bill Hackney

Hot off the press, Bermuda's newspaper, The Royal Gazette, columnist Scott Neil featured Smoky Mountain's Middle School Director Bill Hackney. Hackney went to Bermuda to help junior athletes prepare for the Carifta Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships.

The Royal Gazette - Young athletes from Bermuda heading for the Carifta Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships in Trinidad & Tobago this month have benefited from training advice shared by a leading coach at a Nike running camp.

Bill Hackney, an experienced runner and triathlete, and director of the middle school programme at Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp, has given training tips to youngsters in Bermuda.

More than 30 junior athletes from a variety of the island’s clubs took part in a training session with Hackney at the National Sports Centre. Helping out were Bermuda coaches Victoria Fiddick and Ashley Couper.

Hackney’s principal method is called effort-based training, and it helps to steer athletes away from overtraining and injury.

Explaining the concept, he said it involved “the right effort for your current level of fitness”. He said that after a break from regular training and competition — as happens during the summer months in Bermuda — athletes can return to training with reduced conditioning.

If they try to jump straight back in at the level of training they were doing before the break, they run the risk of injury and of discouragement if they fall short of previous benchmarks.

The effort-based training method begins with benchmarking to establish an athlete’s fitness. A series of charts and tables with oxygen uptake calculations are used to structure the programme, which consists of easy, tempo, and hard workouts. Hackney uses a 12-week schedule, with four adjustment points, to bring athletes to a fitness peak.

“It allows you to progress in a planned, methodical way, so you are not going into races tired,” he said.

“It’s good for the young athletes. Mentally, it is easier than when the workouts are all ‘hard, hard, hard’. Using this methodology, it is hard to get injured because you are unlikely to be overtraining.”

Hackney lives near Atlanta, Georgia, and works in the aerospace industry. He has been a youth and high school coach for many years, and also trains adults. He has used the effort-based training system for more than 30 years. During his peak competitive years, he achieved a 2hr 32min marathon, a 10K in 31:30 and a mile in 4:12.

Fiddick, who coaches MAAC Juniors and has taken groups to the Smoky Mountain Running Camp in North Carolina, invited Hackney to present a weekend coaching clinic for the Mid Atlantic Athletic Club, with sessions for adults and juniors.

She said: “The running camp has knowledgeable coaches and I thought it would be great to bring Bill to Bermuda so that our runners could have a taste of the coaching. It is an adult coaching camp for MAAC, which the juniors — from different clubs — have been able to piggyback on.

“It is a good thing to kick-start the season, get new ideas and get the juniors energised.”

Among the young athletes heading to Tobago for the Carifta is Nico Davis, 14, who took part in the coaching clinic with Hackney.

Nico fits his training around his school day, which usually means working out in the evenings, including swimming and track sessions, to prepare for triathlons. He enjoys taking part in structured training sessions with experienced coaches.

“I find it better because you feel you have to do it, as there is someone there telling you what to do,” he said, contrasting it with training alone when there is a tendency to not achieve the same level of workout.

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