Entering what I would call my second year of 'educated' coaching, I'm constantly amazed at not only the number of various endurance training philosophies but at too the degree that they counter each other. For me to go into the periodization or reverse periodization theories would be enough to put you right to sleep. (ahh sleepign, good topic for another blog) Even though I would admit that my complete knowledge and experience with any single theory is quite junior; I have been able to come up with some earth shattering conclusions for success.
1.Have the drive to set goals and follow them.
2.Recognize when you are tired and take time to recover. There is still a demarcation point (big philosophy term) to this as you don't want to bow out of every workout because you are hitting the wall. But you must be able to realize when your total stress load (life + workouts) is not allowing your body to bounce back; thus taking the time to chill.
3.Verbal and lyrical motivation can increase performance and motivation by an immeasurable factor. Time and time again I have seen athletes refocus and release endorphins to take their performance above and beyond expectation.
4.Outside observation can be a very powerful indicator for lack of drive and incoming sickness. On several occasions well before my heart rate monitor or body gives me sings that I'm battling a bug, someone in my daily circle will let me know that I'm looking tired. Sure enough two or three days later my resting heart rate will rise and if left unchecked I will get sick within about 48 hours. But through the keen observation of a coach who you see regularly the power to 'reel' someone can save a lot of grief over time.
I can't say for sure; but with a certain degree of confidence I believe that with these four pillars in any programs whether you are at high intensity or long duration or a combo thereof, success will be yours!