The most important time of the year to train and get ready for summer is in the winter months. This is the time to build your base from where you will springboard your summer workouts and racing season.
The base is that block of time, which can be as long as 12-weeks, where you will slowly and methodically build your strength through some long slow distance walks or runs. It is also the time to get into the weight room for anywhere between 2-3 times each week.
Missing or not taking advantage of the winter months will definitely cause you to start way behind any of your friends that committed themselves to a winter training program. I realize that when it is cold, it can be difficult to become motivated to get out there, or even run on a treadmill, but it has to be done in order to achieve your goals.
If you cannot be self-motivated, set small goals for yourself to get through the 12-weeks that you should commit to a winter program. Divide the 12 weeks into four quarters of three weeks each. After each three weeks, give yourself a reward such as a day off, or a longer sleep in on a regular workout day. At the end of the 12 weeks, treat yourself to a great tasting meal; forget the fat and carbs just do it. You will not loose anything by indulging after working out for so long.
It is now January if you have not started on your program; you are now looking at completing your winter program around April. The window is still open to get committed, so get out there today and make it happen.