Entries are open for our 2017 events - click on the Events page for more info on the line up!

read more


2017 Entries are flying in - make sure you dont miss your spot by leaving it too late!

read more


Results will be published here after each event

read more


Training guidelines, tips and advice from our in-house coaching team

read more

Vital Events Training Guide

(n.b. the training guide below can be applied to both single and multi sport training activities - if you would like further training/coaching advice and guidance please see links at the bottom of this page)

Organising the Training Week

The structure of the week depends on the phase of the annual plan which are: Preparation (general and specific), Pre-competition or Build, Competition and Recovery. Different aspects are covered all year round.  You should aim to perform a variety of training sessions covering the skills and conditioning demands of your chosen sport.

Building an Annual Plan

There are 4 main phases of the annual plan depending on the time of the year and/ or the date of your target race or event. 

Preparation Phase

In this phase you should be identifying areas for and working on improvement in technique and baseline fitness level.  By identifying these targets you can then begin to establish a plan for addressing any technical issues and begin to create some specific, achievable and above all realistic goals to work towards i.e. “by 30th March I’ll be able to tumble turn effectively and run 5k 20 seconds faster than in February”

For endurance athletes it is important to develop the aerobic system during this time performing proportionally more aerobic endurance workouts gradually building to threshold level but not forgetting other types of workout completely. Aerobic Endurance sessions in the base phase should be of a higher volume and lower intensity to train the muscles to work for longer periods of time by absorbing oxygenated blood. During the Preparation phase you should still perform some sessions that work on aspects such as speed, strength, lactate tolerance and power to ensure effective transition to the Pre Competition (or Build) phase.

Towards the end of the Preparation Phase threshold work will give the optimal aerobic training effect, provided the intensity is correct. Too intense and there is a greater contribution from anaerobic metabolism, and too easy and you could be going faster! (See training intensity table)

Pre-Competition (or Build) Phase

Intensity is beginning to increase whilst volume may be reduced.  Specific race skills are introduced here such as deep water starts, transition practice etc. There is more of a focus on speed endurance and lactate tolerance as you work towards achieving race pace and going more into overload.  Intensity will rise here so get ready to push the boundaries a little!

Competition Phase

During the Competition phase the intensity increases in general (although remember, it’s important to keep your aerobic endurance levels high and your technique honed) main sets in workouts will now be pushing into levels 4 & 5 on the intensity table.  You will be racing during this period so too so you’ll need to adjust the volume and work on developing speed to enhance performance. Lactate production and Tolerance sets can be introduced into your main sets.

Recovery Phase

The Recovery phase is often either overlooked completely or taken a little too literally! This phase is vital for ongoing development and improvement, intensity here will be lower in general and workouts should be more fun and of the “this is what I WANT to do” type. Many athletes even try different sports during this time. Remember not to lose sight of the overall plan though and it won’t do any harm to bash out the odd speed session.

Remember to keep testing yourself through the whole process, simple time trials every 3-4 weeks will do, just try and make it the same every time. Use the same run route, swimming pool or cycle circuit.

Training Intensity


Heart Rate Level

(% of max)

Perceived Effort*

(6 – 20)



Easy / recovery

50 – 65

6 – 10

Very easy – could maintain this pace for extended periods


Lower aerobic endurance

65 – 70

10 – 12

Easy – could maintain this pace for about an hour


Upper aerobic endurance

70 – 75

12 – 14

Steady – could maintain this pace for about ½ hour


Threshold endurance

75 – 85

14 – 16

Starting to feel quite hard, but could maintain for 10mins +


Overload endurance

85 – 90

16 – 18

Hard, can only maintain for a few minutes


Maximum effort

90 +

18 – 20

Very hard, can only maintain for seconds

*Reference to the BORG scale (1998) of perceived effort

Session Structure

Depending on which training phase you are in, you will cover varying sessions on endurance/ stamina work and speed/ power/ strength work. Some examples of what to include in those sessions are listed below. The intensity and how much rest should be given are illustrated. These examples are to be used as the "main set" for a single training session. A quality warm-up which can include some technique work should be of low intensity.  A building set may then be used to bring the heart rate gradually to the level required for the main set and to thoroughly warm up the muscles. The main set should always be followed by a recovery cool-down, depending on the length of the session, training cycle, etc.

Session Types & Themes

Aerobic Endurance

This involves working at a heart rate level of 65 to 75% of your Max heart rate (MHR) (L2 / L3). Rest intervals will typically be between 10 to 60 seconds depending on the discipline and distance of the repeats you are performing.

Example sets:

Swim: 15-20 x 100m @ 60 to 75% MHR (L2 / L3) 10 to 15 seconds recovery

Cycle: 4-6 x 20mins @ 60 to 75% MHR (L2 / L3) 20 to 45 seconds recovery

Run: 6-8 x 800m @ 60 to 75% MHR (L2 / L3) 20 to 25 seconds recovery

Threshold Endurance

This involves working at a heart rate level of 75 to 85% MHR (L4a). Rest intervals will typically be between 10 to 60 seconds depending on the discipline and distance of the repeats you are performing.

Example sets:

Swim: 8-10 x 200m @ 75 to 85% MHR (L4a) 15-20 seconds recovery

Cycle: 5-8 x 15min @ 75 to 85% MHR (L4a) 30-60 seconds recovery

Run: 8-12 x 400m @ 75 to 85% MHR (L4a) 15-30 seconds recovery

Overload/ Overload Endurance

This involves working at a heart rate level of 85 to 90% MHR (L4b). Recovery time will typically be shorter in order that a certain level of fatigue is maintained throughout the set.

Example sets:

Swim: 4-6 x 200m @ 85 to 90% MHR (L4b) 15 seconds recovery, PLUS 8-12 x 100m @ 85 to 90% MHR (L4b) 10 second recovery

Cycle: 8-12 x 10min @ 85 to 90% MHR (L4b) 30 seconds recovery PLUS 8-12 x 5min @ 85 to 90% MHR (L4b) 15 seconds recovery

Run: 1200m, 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m, 1200m @ 85 to 90% MHR (L4b) 20 seconds recovery PLUS 6-10 x 200m @ 85 to 90% MHR (L4b) 10 seconds recovery


Strength in any discipline helps increase speed, power, efficiency and the ability to hold technique and body position during the race/ workout

Example sets:

Swim: 10-20 x 50m Pull with band, 30 seconds recovery.

Cycle: 15-20 x 2-5min Seated hill climb or over-gearing, 30 seconds recovery

Run: 12-20 30sec-2min Hill repeats, recovery on downhill


Power is similar to strength but is measured over a much shorter period of time, and is defined as “the ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible”

Example sets:

Swim: 8-12 x 12.5m band Maximum effort, 12.5m steady, 30 seconds recovery

Cycle: 8-12 x short (15-20sec), steep (the steeper the better!) hill repetitions, 30-40 seconds recovery

Run: 8-12 x 50m sprints, 20-30sec recovery

Lactate Production

This involves working at a heart rate level well above the threshold level. Efforts will be of 90%+ MHR / L5, with longer rest periods. The aim is to work close to maximum speed and then to rest sufficiently in order to give time for the lactate to be largely eliminated.

Example sets:

Swim: 6-12 x 50m @ Maximum pace (L5), 2-3 minutes recovery

Cycle: 10-20 x 1min @ Maximum pace (L5), 2-3 minutes recovery

Run: 5-8 x 300m @ Maximum pace (L5), 2-3 minutes recovery

Lactate Tolerance

The aim of this type of set is also to exercise at close to maximum but with less rest in order that the body may experience working with a lactate build-up in the system.

Example sets:

Swim: 10-16 x 50m @ Maximum pace (L4b / L5), 45sec recovery

Cycle: 12-24 x 1min @ Maximum pace (L4b / L5), 30sec recovery

Run: 6-10 x 300m @ Maximum pace (L4b / L5), 30sec recovery


This is where we look at the pure speed aspect of any sport. Fewer repeats are performed at max effort with longer rest intervals focussing on the speed of muscle movement and development of fast twitch fibres.

Example sets:

Swim: 10 x 25m @ Maximum pace (L5), 1 minute recovery

Cycle: 10 x 2min @ Maximum pace (L5), 1 minute recovery

Run: 10 x 200m @ Maximum pace (L5), 1 minute recovery

Speed Endurance

These workouts are designed to allow your body to perform faster for longer.  Much like the speed sessions but with longer main sets and less rest, intensity will tend to be slightly lower in the L4a bracket.

Example sets:

Swim: 30-40 x 25 metres @ 80-95% (L4b / L5), 15 sec recovery

Cycle: 15-20 x 2min @ 80-95% (L4b / L5), 20 sec recovery

Run: 16-20 x 200m @ 80-95% (L4b / L5), 15 sec recovery



  • Vital events can offer multi and single sport coaching and/or customised training plans for specific Vital Events races (or any other races) from beginners to elite athletes from our in house BTF Level 3 coach - for more info click here 


Twitter Feed


  • We are very excited to announce that we have merged with Epic Events - please click here to access the Epic Events website

  • 2017 entries are open including West Lancs Spring Tri, Southport Tri, Roman Rd Challenge, Southport Half Marathon and 10k, West Lancs Summer Tri click here 

  • Entries are almost full for Southport Half Marathon and the 10k if completely upto capacity - get your HM entry whilst you still can click here 

  • Swim Master Class announced with Olympic medallist and World Record breaker Jo Jackson at Edge Hill University click here 

  • Results from the awesome 2016 edition of Roman Road and Croston Crusade Cycle Sportive are online click here 

  • Results from our May Events Southport Tri and Liverpool International City Swim are online click here 

  • Swim with Olympians Cassie Patten and Grant Turner at Southport Swim Clinic  click here  or why not enter a race that they will also be taking part in click here - yes you could be on the start line and in the same race as an Olympic medallist!

  • Live Tracking and Results for all races at Southport Tri - BUCs Standard, TENW Regional Champs, ITU World AG Qualifier Standard Distance and Sprint Distance click here 

  • Southport Triathlon breaks all previous records and reaches 1000 entrants click here 

  • For West Lancashire Spring Triathlon 2016 Live Tracking and Results click here 

  • Southport Half Marathon new route for both the HM and 10k distances to be launched on Fri 11th March - click here 

  • Southport Triathlon chosen to host the BUCS Champs - the 2016 event is shaping upto be the biggest yet with races to suit everyone from Novice and first timers to elites! - click here 

  • West Lancs Spring Triathlon will be our season opener in 2016 on April 10th - entries are now open at Super Saver prices, start your season with this awesome race - click here.

  • There will be 2 opportunities to race at Edge Hilll University (the University of the Year) when the West Lancs Summer Triathlon takes place on Aug 28th - click here 

  • 2016 entries are live for our awesome cycle sportive The Roman Road Challenge (82 miles) and the Croston Crusade (36 miles) - click here 

  • Southport Half Marathon 2016 entries are now open - this year there are also 2 brand new distances on offer with a 10k and a 1 mile distance joining the 'line up', for more info click here 

  • Kielder Reiver Middle Distance Triathlon and Kielder Water Swim 2016 entries are open at Super Saver prices! Grab a bargain now or why not enter both and earn yourself 3 medals for 2 events - for Tri info click here and Swim info click here  

  • Southport Triathlon 2016 entries are open at Super Saver prices be quick to ensure you don't miss out - click here 

  • Swim training sessions  at the new pool and Sports Centre at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk have now started, all are welcome - for more info click here
  • British Triathlon choose Southport Triathlon as World Champs Std Distance Qualifier for Cozumel, Mexico - click here 


ArchiveD news 2015

  • St Helens Tri Race Info Pack 2015 available online - St Helens Triathlon Race Pack 2015.pdf St Helens Triathlon Race Pack 2015.pdf 

  • 2015 Results available online - click here 

  • Coming soon - Southport Swim Clinic on Sat 20th Jun with Olympic Swimmer Jo Jackson!

  • Southport Triathlon is now sold out - no further entries are available

  • The Roman Road Challenge and Croston Crusade Results have been published click here for more info

  • Entries are open for West Lancs Triathlon - our first ever Pool Triathlon taking place at the award winning Edge Hill University in Ormskirk - for more info click here 

  • Entries are open for our 3 swimming events at Liverpool Waterfront, Crosby Lakeside and Kielder Water - for more info click here

  • We are very excited to announce Zone3 as our new race sponsors for Swim and Triathlon events in 2015 - check their 2015 brand video 'Find your escape' by clicking here

  • Check out the offers in our Christmas 2014 Newsletter click here

  • 2015 Entries are open at Supersaver prices for a limited period for Southport Half Marathon, Southport Marine Lake Triathlon, the Roman Road Challenge, Kielder Water Swim and the brand new Kielder Reiver Triathlon here - further 2015 events will be announced shortly with a few surprises too!

  • Our new entry system is now online!


ArchiveD news 2014

  • Our final swim event of 2014 at Kielder Water remains open for a limited number of late entries, be quick! click here 

  • Queens Dock and Crosby Lakeside Open Water Swim Results are now online click here  

  • Open Water Swimming events guest commentator announced as Olympic Medallist and World Record Holder Joanne Jackson - for more information click here

  • Southport Half Marathon results are available online click here 

  • Southport Half Marathon entries about to close as we reach the 1000 runner capacity - enter here whilst you still can!

  • Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2014 Results available here

  • 15th June will see a capacity entry of 600 triathletes from complete novices and first timers to experienced age groupers and sponsored athletes competing in the Sprint Distance for places in the 2015 European Champs GB Age Group Team and also for the Triathlon England Standard Distance North West Championships - more info here

  • A great day was had by all at the inaugural Roman Road Challenge & Croston Crusade cycle sportive at Edge Hill University - rider's finish times can be found here and some great photos here

ArchiveD news 2013

  • Christmas Newsletter packed with discounts and special offers is available here

  • Entries are open for Southport Half Marathon 2014 - a new Start/Finish area and even faster route, 6th July 2014 click here 

  • Entries are open for Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2014 - the Sprint race has been selected as a GB Age Group Team Qualifier for the 2015 ETU Sprint Distance Triathlon European Championships in Geneva and the Standard Distance Race will once again host the Triathlon England North West Championships, to enter click here

  • Crosby Lakeside Open Water Swim results - click here 

  • Southport Half Marathon results - click here  

  • Southport Marine Lake Triathlon race report - click here 

  • Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2013 - all entries are sold out!

  • Our latest newsletter was sent to subscribers on 02/0/13 to see a copy click here
  • Entries are open for Southport Half Marathon 2013 - a traffic free route that includes a start/finish in Princes Park, the Marine Lake, passing under the Pier, Kings Gardens, Marine Drive, Coastal Road and Victoria Park for more details and to enter click here 

  • Entries are open for a new Open Water Swim event to take place at £10million Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre on 28th July. 

    The facilities at the centre include a 24 hectare lake within Crosby Coastal Park which is perfect for OW Swimming.

    There will be a variety of distances on offer from a childrens 400m swim right upto 3.8k for more details and to enter click here 

  • Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2013 confirmed as the Triathlon England North West Standard Distace Championships click here

  • Entries are open for Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2013 click here for further details

  • Our Training guide and training plans are now available click here for further details

  • Vital Events are pleased to announce RedVenom will be returning as the major sponsor for Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2013

ArchiveD news 2012

  • Images from Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2012 are available online 

    click here
  • Southport Marine Lake Triathlon 2012 results are now finalised 

    click here
  • 2012 Entries are open – Vital Events are pleased to announce entries are now open for the first of our 2012 events

  • Southport Marine Lake Triathlon – Agreements are now in place for Southport Marine Lake Triathlon to take place on Sunday 17th June click here for further details.

  • Southport Traithlon Training Day announced for the final day of the Jubilee Holiday Weekend - Tuesday 5th June

  • Open Water Swimming Sessions now available at Southport Marine Lake click here  for further details
  • Vital Events Race Team now registered with BTF. For more info on membership benefits, how to join and contact details please click here
  • Event Partners A1 Multisport announced as Vital Events recommended Wetsuit Hire provider click here for further details
  • Vital Events are pleased to announce Vermarc UK as the latest addition to the list of race and prize sponsors click here to access our useful links/sponsors page for further details
  • New images added to the photo gallery of the latest visit to the venue to collect water samples for testing and a test swim in the Marine Lake after the recent refill click here to see them

  • Vital Events are pleased to announce Endurance Junkie as the next addition to the list of race sponsors click here to access our useful links/sponsors page for further details

  • The Vincent Hotel added to the useful links page as Vital Events accommodation partners for the event click here to access our useful link page for further details

  • Massage4Athletes and Maghull Therapy confirmed as massage service providers for Southport Triathlon on 17th June click here to access our useful link page for further details

  • Maghull Therapy special offer for Vital Events clients click here for more information