I have pretty much handled my personal goals the same way.
For instance, when I decided that I wanted to run my first half marathon sometime this year, I did some research about how long it might take to train to accomplish this distance, and that helped me choose a race to enter. I knew that I would not be able to run a January half marathon if I was not prepared to start training before January 1st.
Then I solicited some help with making a detailed training schedule to complete the distance - and I left room for alternative run days if the weather hinders my plans. I have designated Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays as running days... but if the weather looks bad for Saturday's long run, I might choose to do it Friday or even Sunday.
And I am working on other training elements such as pre-race meals, during race fuel, clothing, hydration, and recovery... and also planning a variety of running routes to avoid boredom.
I am keeping a journal and making notes about what I am eating and wearing and weather and moods.
As it gets closer to race day, I will be making a plan of what I will need to do the day, evening, and morning beforehand. And you can bet I will be looking for advice from experienced racers in putting that together.
Big problems - far off goals - can seem so intimidating! But break them down, articulate steps to solve them... and they become attainable! Achieving small successes along the way also gives me confidence to believe that I will reach the desired end.
I think this planning is important. I know that if I just went out and tried to run 13.1 miles I would fail miserably. I could walk that far without any trouble, but I wouldn't run even most of it, at this point.
I know plans go awry; things happen; life gets in the way. Believe me, I know! But if I don't at least start out with a plan, how will I ever have a chance to accomplish my goals? I might just as well make a wish!
How do you feel about planning?
Do you make detailed plans for your upcoming races?
If you are an experienced racer, did you get more casual about planning as you gained racing experience or more serious?