Deliberate Practice – Part 1

I listen to a podcast called Freakonomics, and a couple of weeks back they released an episode called How to Become Great at Just About Anything. it discusses the Malcolm Gladwell principle of 10,000 hours from his hit book Outliers: The Story of Success. I’ve heard of this before, however, what I didn’t realise was that Malcolm Gladwell’s sound bite in Outliers about it taking 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something is taken slightly out of context from the original researcher’s findings. The researcher that Gladwell referenced for the magic 10,000 hours number, Anders Ericsson, is actually a proponent of something called “Deliberate Practice” which isn’t just about cranking out the hours but placing more value on the quality and direction of the practice over the quantity. At least that’s how I heard the explanation (listen for yourselves). He states:

“deliberate practice develops skills that other people have already figured out how to do and for which effective training techniques have been established.”

This is what really caught my ear as I know I’ve not got 10,000 hours to plough into training to become the best runner I can be, but perhaps with some directed, focus and you could deliberate practice I can most the most of my training time and hopefully progress faster and further then I would just going out and randomly running. 

With this in mind, I’m going to focus on 3 areas and discover the best/most recommended and recognised training methods to improve on those aspects of my running. 

  1. Speed
  2. Endurance (Distance)
  3. Hill Running

So I’m going to go away now and start researching the best training methods for each of the mentioned categories and I’ll post the methods I’ve landed on for each in another post and try and build my a training regime around those findings.



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