I was on the Ohio Turnpike on my way back from Michigan and listening to the discussion of Anders Ericsson’s study of greatness on the FreakonomicsRadio podcast. You may know of Ericsson as the guy who discovered the “the 10,000 hour rule” which Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in his book Outliers. The theory is that to be the best at something we need to spend 10,000 hours practicing that thing. But there’s more to the story that just logging hours and hours doing the same thing over and over.
Ericsson explains what makes some people amazing at what they do is that they don’t just practice that thing over and over, they do something called “deliberate practice.” The concept applies across the spectrum of skilled activities: from singing, to welding, to sports, like running.
Ericsson says that deliberate practice is “when you actually pick a target — something that you want to improve — and you find a training activity that would allow you to actually improve that particular aspect.” He explains that this type of practice is systematic and intentionally detailed. It is a type of practice that is hard and out of our comfort zones. This got me thinking about how much it sounds like competitive marathon training. Read more >>