Upcoming GCAN events

POSTPONED – Injury Prevention & Management with Noel Thatcher

Speaker: Noel Thatcher MBE

This event will be rescheduled for autumn 2018, date TBC.

Most runners have experienced the frustration of injury. Statistics suggest that at least half of runners will be injured every year, and in longer races almost 25% entrants drop out before reaching the start line.

So what can we do to reduce our individual injury risk? And how can we best manage and recover from injuries when they do occur.

We are delighted to be joined by Noel Thatcher MBE to provide his professional insights as a top physiotherapist and former international elite athlete.

Noel represented Great Britain at six Paralympic Games between 1984 and 2004, winning five athletics gold medals on the track, including a double of 5,000m and 10,000m in Atlanta 1996. Overall he has won 42 international gold medals over six distances, and set ten world records. He was chosen as GB’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Athens Paralympic Games in 2004.

In 2009 he was inducted to the England Athletics Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to the sport.

Noel has worked as a physiotherapist since his retirement from elite athletics, and is well recognised for his successful approach. He will cover:

  • Lessons learnt from own athletic development, from sprinter to marathoner.
  • Insights into injury management and prevention.
  • Managing particular injuries, and appropriate training modifications.

Come and join us on 6th June from 7pm at Anglia Ruskin University to gain from Noel’s expertise – not to be missed!

To book this event, and for further information please visit

Recent GCAN events

Two back-to-back workshops with England Athletics and GB coach Nick Anderson…

Marathon Preparation Evening

Speaker/Lead Deliverer: Nick Anderson
Wednesday 31st January, 7-9pm
Location: Lab 002, Ground Floor of the Lord Ashcroft Building, East Road Main Campus

One of an England Athletics national series on marathon preparation.

For coaches and athletes working towards the Performance Marathon Group times.

Ideal for Good For Age (GFA) or faster marathon runners and for coaches looking to develop coaching knowledge in the marathon. The evening will include key speakers and discussion groups talking through practical experiences of marathon preparation.


Endurance Workshop: Nutrition and Hydration – Recovery, Performance and Lifestyle

Speaker/Lead Deliverer: Nick Anderson
Thursday 1st February, 7-9pm
Location: YST218, Young Street Building.
PLEASE NOTE: Young Street is further up East Road from the main ARU campus.

Part of a series of England Athletics endurance workshops looking at specific areas for endurance coaches and athletes. This workshop will cover nutrition and hydration – recovery, performance and lifestyle relating to endurance athletes.

A cornerstone to any athlete wanting to perform and stay healthy. We look at everyday nutrition and hydration as well as race day and performance strategies. Thought will be given to screening and monitoring health in the athlete also.

About Nick Anderson

With over 35 years running experience, and 20 years as a coach, Nick is a graduate in Science & Management of Health & Fitness, a UKA level 4 endurance coach, a qualified nutritionist and sports therapy practitioner. Nick has coached athletes including Andy Vernon, Tracy Barlow, Louise Damon, and Ben Moreau.

Nick currently an England Athletics Club Run coach & manages GB squads for at events such as the World Half Marathon Championships. Having coached hundreds of athletes from beginners through to Olympians Nick is one of Europe’s most highly respected coaches.

He is a former UKA Event Coach for 5k, 10k and marathon and previously assisted Bud Baldaro with UKA marathon squads.

Cross Country & Hill Training
Mark Vile
22nd November 2017, 7-9pm
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
ROOM LOCATION: Room YST 218, in Young Street Building

An insight into cross country racing by coach Mark Vile, including how to prepare for cross country, improving your performance, and how cross country can benefit your whole running. This talk will also cover hill training, how to use these sessions for effective improvements to your running, with session ideas.

Mark Vile is an experienced coach, currently coaching a successful squad of elite athletes. He won the U17 men’s National Cross Country title at Leeds in 1982 and competed for England at the 1983 World Cross Country Championships winning team bronze medals and finishing himself in 55th.

Coach / Run Leader Workshop: Structuring Training Sessions and Developing Training Programmes For Beginner Runners

Led by Simon Mennell, England Athletics Tutor & Trainer

Thursday 26th October
7-9pm, Sawston Sports Centre

This workshop is for coaches and run leaders, and will include discussion as well as active participation. It covers:
• Ideas for sessions for beginner runners.
• Shared best practice.
• Organisation and safety considerations with beginners.
• Components of fitness, and energy systems.
• Session planning and practical session delivery.

Coach Workshop: Making reps suit your event
David Lowes (National Coach Mentor for Endurance)
20th March 2017

Reps – love them or hate them they’re a staple of most training schedules, but do they all achieve the same end result? How does varying the duration, pace, recovery, number of reps/sets affect the physiological response? What reps sessions should you do when marathon training compared to 5K training?

David Lowes is an England Athletics National Coach Mentor Endurance (Midlands), GB Team Coach and Freelance Athletics Writer. He’s also an ex-GB athlete with PB’s of 7:52.4 (3000m), 13:43.99 (5000m), 63:28 (21.1km), 2:15:32 (Marathon). He competed at international on track, road and cross-country.

Watch the talk on You Tube

Download a PDF copy of the slides

Nutritional Strategies for endurance running
Dr Justin Roberts
6th March 2017

Dr Justin Roberts covered a range of aspects of nutrition for endurance athletes.

Justin is a senior lecturer and researcher with The Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences at ARU. He is a Registered Nutritional Therapist as well as an accredited Sport and Exercise Physiologist and Chartered Scientist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and a Member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

With over 20 years’ experience in sport and exercise physiology and nutrition, Justin has worked at various institutions including the British Olympic Medical Centre (London). He specialises in performance and functional nutrition with a central aim of exploring dietary and supplementation strategies to support performance, recovery and health-related adaptations to exercise.

Sports Psychology: What can it do for me?
Helen Davis
22nd February 2017

In sport a lot of attention is devoted to the physical components of performance, yet have you ever considered what psychological skills could help you achieve the best physical performance? To be a better athlete does not necessarily mean you have to train harder or longer. It could mean that you need to address all the components that make up successful athletic performances- mental, as well as physical. Sport psychology can help improve performance, consistency, enjoyment and bring a competitive edge to your game. The aim of the lecture was to explore how you think, feel and behave and how this can affect the way you perform.

Helen Davis is a Sport Psychology consultant who works with individuals, teams, clubs, coaches and schools through one-to-one sessions or interactive group workshops.

A summary of Helen’s talk can be found here:

How to run a faster marathon
Dr Dan Gordon
8th February 2017
Using research data collected over numerous marathons including the 2015 and 2016 London Marathons, Dr Dan Gordon will reveal the secret to knocking 30mins off your marathon time!

Dan is Principal Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at Anglia Ruskin University. He is a former Paralympic athlete and cyclist, still holding a track cycling world record; he has acted as consultant physiologist to the UKA Paralympic team, and consultant sports scientist to a variety of national-level squads.

Background to Dr Gordon’s marathon pacing research can be found here:

Optimising performance through nutritional strategies in running
Dr Mike Newell
25th January 2017

Dr Mike Newell’s current research focuses on human nutrition and exercise metabolism. More specifically this has focused on metabolic responses to exercise with the provision of different amounts of substrates – specifically carbohydrate. He is interested in how we can understand and optimise nutritional recommendations to different populations to enhance human performance. More recently his research interests have turned towards understanding the physiological and nutritional demands of ultra-endurance tasks such as ocean rowing and ultra-marathons.

Footballer to Olympic Endurance Athlete
Paul Evans
9th January 2017
Paul Evans is one of the fastest all-time British marathon runners courtesy of his 2:08:52 victory in Chicago almost 19 years ago. His record also shows third and fifth finishes at London as well as a runner-up spot in New York. In addition, he represented Great Britain on the track over 10,000m at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta four years later. Amazingly, he only took up running at the age of 25 after a career in football.

Paul talked about that journey, the training he did to achieve such success, and what it feels like to be in an Olympic final!

Marathon Physiology 101
Dr Christof Schwiening
14th December 2016
Natural selection has resulted in highly trainable physiological systems allowing us to become optimally adapted to changing environments (seasons, food supply, migration etc). It is the continual, day-to-day training of our physiological systems that determines the level of functionality. Modern life is easy; supermarkets, plumbing, heating, cars, money and laws have removed the stresses that maintained and enhanced endurance performance. Everyday life no longer makes us endurance athletes instead we must actively apply the appropriate physiological stresses. This lecture looked at what those stresses might be, the systems they are adapting and why they are not generally implemented.

Christof Schwiening is a cellular neurophysiologist working at the University of Cambridge who also lectures on homeostasis, muscle, the circulation, training and thermoregulation.

Training and Coaching for Endurance Runners
Liz Yelling
11th April 2016

Double Olympian and Commonwealth medallist Liz Yelling talked about her own career and coaching influences, and how the fundamentals of better endurance performance were integrated into her training. She covered the common training questions asked by marathon runners and coaches – what, when and how? Now a successful coach in her own right, Liz also talked about her own coaching of athletes – performance and recreational – what works and what doesn’t. The talk ended with an open Q&A session.

A write up of Liz’s talk can be found here:

Mastering the Marathon
Mara Yamauchi
18th January 2016

Mara Yamauchi, the UK’s second fastest female marathon runner (2:23:12) and two-time Olympian presented a talk to the Greater Cambridge Athletics Network (GCAN) on 18th January. The talk was co-hosted by the Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science at Anglia Ruskin University and was attended by over 160 people representing 22 clubs, including 32 coaches. The 2hour talk covered all aspects of marathon training including rest & recovery, injury-prevention, nutrition, race preparation, and strength & conditioning, drawing on her own marathon career. The talk was followed by a very lively Q&A session.

GCAN Chairman Trevor Bunch says ‘We were absolutely amazed by the response to this talk, both in terms of numbers attending and the positive feedback. We had coaches and athletes from every end of the spectrum, from the very large Track and Field clubs to the casual recreational running groups. The benefits of this talk will be very wide-reaching and we can’t thank Mara enough’.