Where are you now? Are you sure?
The hardest part of navigation is working out where you are. If you've ever been really lost you'll know that it's not plotting the route forward that's the hardest bit, it's coping with the doubt about where you might be, that's what's scary and that's what paralyses people or causes them to make bad decisions.
"Where am I?" consistently ranks as one of the most popular Google searches because our physical location impacts all of our actions. It's the same in endurance; the question, "Where am I now?" in terms of your fitness, your technical skills and your mental and physical readiness to train should be your starting point. It seems obvious, yet you'd be surprised that for many people it isn't.
Most people have a goal then without really realising it, start down the path of least resistance because, like all paths that are easy to follow, it is well trodden. It's a path they've followed before, perhaps with a few tweaks at first, but it's certainly one that's familiar. It might mean training with the same people on the same nights. It might be following the same routes in training or eating the same food. Whatever it is, if you do the same thing twice you'll get the same result.
If you don't want to follow that path, or more importantly you know that following that path won't get you where you want to be you have to be sure, and I mean really sure, about where you are right now. It's only when you're armed with the confidence that comes with that knowledge that can you forge ahead on a new path through unfamiliar territory.
So what do I mean by finding out where you are? I mean taking stock of your physical and mental abilities and how they stack up to the challenge. That doesn't just mean doing a couple of tests, setting your zones and cracking on. It means taking time, proper focused time, to reflect on the mistakes you've made in the past, the challenges that lie ahead and the areas where you know you'll fall short. For most of us the greatest gains come from identifying psychological blind spots and non-positive habits (which are different from negative habits, but that's for another blog post) because if you can work on these you'll unlock performances you could only dream about.
So, where are you right now? Are you sure?