MOMAR: Creating Your Annual Training Plan

Creating Your Annual Training Plan: MOMAR Focus

Sarah Seads BA Kinesiology

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With just 4 months until the first MOMAR of the season, it is time to start getting focused on your training if you aren't already on track. It may seem like a long time, but those 4 months will fly by and what you do today will effect your performance come May. It is time to grab a calendar and sketch out your ATP- Annual Training Plan.

Creating an ATP that includes phases and smart training principles, such as overload and rest, will help you use your time efficiently and ensure you are ready to peak for your goal event. Time is precious in a busy life and you don't want to waste it on training that is inefficient or unfocused.

Start by circling the dates for all of your top events this coming year. List them in order of importance as either A, B, or C events. Your 'A' event will require a week to ten days of tapering time to allow you to recover completely and perform at your best, so you will need to block out this training time on your calendar as well.

Make a list of the physical requirements of your goal event so you know what you need to work up to. For the MOMAR Enduro, you are looking at approximately 50k total including 8-10k kayaking, 8-12k trail running (including climbing and descending) and 20-30k of mountain biking (including up, downs, and technical sections). Sport course racers need to prepare for a 30k course and about 2/3rds of the Enduro course distances.

Next, you need to identify where you are now. You can complete a detailed fitness assessment or you can simply ask yourself the following: How long/fast can I run, ride and paddle today? These numbers will give you a starting point for your training program. Then you will be able to connect the dots between where you are now and where you need to be come race day.

You also need to ask yourself what your weaknesses are: What are my limiting factors? Hill climbing? Technical biking? Endurance? Body composition? Turnover on the flats? Set aside additional time to work on the things you need to improve the most because these are often the same areas we tend to neglect.

Now it is time to schedule in your 'phases' of training and set aside blocks of time for building your base, increasing strength and peaking with specific training for your 'A' event. Use the following guidelines for planning in your phases:

Preparatory (3-6 mos) 1/3 General and 2/3 Specific. For the MOMAR in May, this means that you have about 2 months to spend in General and 1 month left for Specific if you haven't started training yet. The goal of this phase is to lay the foundation (aka base) and prepare your body for higher intensity training later on. Never rush this phase, as the bigger your base, the higher you can build your tower of power down the road.
General Preparatory phase should primarily include aerobic training, muscular endurance resistance training and corrective exercises for muscular imbalances. Be patient, keep to Zone 1 / low intensity training for the majority of your workouts during this phase so that your body will have time to adapt and build a big aerobic base. The bigger the base, the higher (speed/power) you will be able to reach later on.
Specific Preparatory phase includes progressive strength (hill training & functional strength training) and speed & power (zone 3 & 5 interval) workouts. The closer to your event, the more specific, and typically more intense, your workouts should be.

Competitive (2-5 mos): 2/3 Pre-competition and 1/3 Competition phases. The goal of this phase is to improve your performance and prepare to peak for your main competition. This phase typically includes a higher intensity, lower volume of training, however endurance athletes must include endurance training that will specifically prepare them for their event. That means completing workouts that mimic the MOMAR in time and type including brick workouts that combine 2 or more disciplines (run:bike etc) into one workout at least 1-2 times per week.
Pre-competition phase will include the most specific training of your ATP. Use this time to fine tune form, technique, speed and master the specific skills required for your goal event such as orienteering, transitioning and teamwork.
Competition phase peaks with your A event! This is a great time to enter other, shorter races that will help you prepare for your A race and work out any kinks. This phase includes the 7-10+day Taper cycle prior to your main event.

Transition (up to 1 mos): Mental and physical recovery and regeneration with rest and non-specific fitness. A time to re-juice your batteries, reflect on your training and plan for the next goal.

Once you have plotted in your main phases of training you will see how close the MOMAR really is! Take out 1 recovery week for every 3 weeks that you are building your fitness and that leaves you with about 11 weeks of solid training. Put down your calendar, put on your runners and get moving!

Cheers and Happy Trails,

Sarah Seads is the owner of Equilibrium Lifestyle Management (ELM), a fitness and rehabilitation business based in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. For more information on training ideas and programs go to or call ELM at 338-8998.