Periodization is funny word. Just the word invokes confusion. Especially when you throw in all of the different types of periodization and methods, and theories. In a nutshell, periodization is the use of scheduling in your training in order to get the most out of it. It is breaking your training down into specific cycles so that you can get optimal performance at competition time. Depending on which person you are reading from, there are a lot of terms associated with periodization. Macrocycle, mesocycle, microcycle, preparatory phase, competitive phase, general training, sport specific training, general adaptation syndrome (GAS), recovery phase, blah, blah, blah, blah. I can see your eyes glazing over already. Believe me, mine do to when I read about it. The purpose of this entry isn't to teach you the fundamentals of periodization, you can do a simple Google search and do that. My purpose today is to talk briefly on planning and execution, which in essence is what periodization is all about.
When you set out to do something, whether it be run a marathon (stupid), train for the CrossFit Games, or train for the upcoming kickball season, you need a plan. You need to have an end result, the competition, and a beginning, today. Every single day in between can and should be held accountable in some way to help you reach your goal. It doesn't matter if you are training for something in 4 weeks or 4 years, like the Olympics. Every day should have a goal. Even rest is a goal. When you have a clearly defined plan on how you are going to train, you have no choice but to be successful as long as it is well thought out and carried through.
Do you notice how I said "well thought out" in the previous paragraph. I truly meant those words. Your plan must be researched. In other words, you need to devise a plan that fits your own schedule, needs, and ability. In my marathon training, I am not about to schedule myself for 3 long runs in a week. Due to work and family commitments, I simply don't have the time for that. So based on the amount of time I have, I only schedule 1 long run and 1 medium run. All of the rest of my training comes in the form of high intensity intervals (thank you CrossFit Endurance). You need to research what is going to work for you and commit to it. It really is that simple. There are numerous websites out there that have a lot of information regarding training (so do I, all you have to do is ask). Research what will work for your needs and you can then put the pen to the paper and write out a plan. I feel the best way to start your plan and schedule is to start with the end result first and work your way backwards. For example, I started with April 30. That is the day of my marathon. Then I went backwards in weeks and came up with the various cycles and workouts I need to be doing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is don't waste your time. Come up with a plan and execute it. Do a very basic search on periodization and write out a schedule for whatever it is your training for. And you know something else, this doesn't just hold true for athletic events. You can do this for anything in your professional life as well. Try it. I think you will find yourself better off for doing so.