Ok....so I opened with another Dave Ramsey quote, but it fits so well I couldn't help myself. If you want to be successful in cycling or skating, you ride or skate with the best and learn everything you can. If you want to be successful in other arenas, you look for the subject matter expert and learn everything you can.
Financially, we have a budget each month. Every dollar is assigned at the beginning of the month. The leftover goes towards our financial goal.
Training is the same way. We have a limited amount of time (just like we have a limited income) and the best way to spend that time is to have a workout planned ahead of time. We all have different training methodologies, so I won't go into the specifics of how I think we should spend our time, but having a written plan helps keep us honest. If I have a specific workout planned on a certain day, I am much more likely to do it. If my mind isn't already set on a specific workout, there is a better chance I'll think of a reason to back out.
It almost happened tonight actually, even though I did have a workout in mind. I was supposed to pre-ride a mountain bike race course today, but the rain snuffed that idea. 7:00 rolled around and it was dark outside and I hadn't gotten my workout in. When the weather is this nice, riding the trainer is unthinkable for me. I ended up putting some running shoes on and getting a solid aerobic workout in, just like I had planned on the mountain bike.
Just because you have a plan, it doesn't mean you can't call an audible. Weather throws us a monkey wrench sometimes, but instead of skipping a workout completely, I try and fit in something that will stress my body in the same way.
The main race season in the region is from March through June. I usually like to set my training up so that I'm decently fit early and keep getting stronger through the end of April. Then I just try to hold onto fitness as long as I can, or until Tulsa Tough at least. Last year was a crappy year for racing, but my fitness levels were pretty much right where I planned them to be for the first part of the year. Then (especially in 2012) I'll switch to skating and get ready for the fall inline racing season. This seemed to work out well last year too. I had some problems at Duluth, but I finished 2nd in St Paul, 2nd in Houston, and first in San Diego. Why? For one, I had a goal, then a plan, and then the motivation to reach it.
For 2012 in 2012 I have a dream, a goal, a plan, and more motivation than I think I've ever had. Let's see if I can implement it.