Ten Thousand Hours (Read 232 times)

    So, that Macklemore song 10,000 hours came on and got me wondering... At what age will I'll finally figure this running thing out?


    I did the math and found I'll wrap it up on my 75th birthday. Watch out old geezers!



    If you don't know, the song is largely based on Malcolm Gladwell’s book,Outliers. The 10,000 hour rule states the key to success in any field is a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. Malcolm, who is over 50, ran a 5:03 last fall at the Fifth Ave Mile.

      I have thought about this as well and at the rate I'm going I will probably be closer to 95. Thank goodness longetivity runs in the family. Recently I saw this and now choose to believe it instead (at least in relation to running) -  http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2014/03/why-gladwells-10000-rule-is-just-plain.html

        Start early so you can reach that 10,000 hour point in the endeavor of your choice before father time starts working against you.


        Magness also has this article:




        Here's an example of talent and genes: A freshman in our area currently has the freshman national records for both the 1600 (4:17) and 3200m (9:18), and has only been running a couple years.  There's a Sophmore in VA that just set the national mark in the 3000 (8:16) and he's only been running a couple years. In fact, until HS he swore he'd never be a runner.  Oh, to have just a sliver of their genes....

          Thanks for that link, Joann. I was planning some super long training runs for the summer to get me closer to my 10,000 hours. Now I can go back to my regular 21 hours a month jogging.

            Hey, no problem. Wouldn't want you to do anything stupid.


              Good news. I'm only 2,000 hours in and finished just 53 seconds behind him.


              Gladwell Malcolm M50 6430 NYH New York NY Canada     11 0:05:03   0:04:25   84.24 %  
              Berry Paul M52 486 ADOB New York NY United Kingdom     52 0:05:56   0:05:06   72.83 %  


              By the time I'm 84, I'll be kicking his arse,.

              Certified Running Coach
              Crocked since 2013



                Well...I've been averaging 50 mpw for the past 11 years. At an average speed of 5 mph that makes 10 hours a week. 520 hours a year. I'm over halfway to figuring out this running stuff!


                If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on something, that means my DS is an expert on Playstation.

                  Not sure this applies to running but here is a few paragraphs from the book. I hand it out to my music students sometimes. Training and mastering a skill seem a little different. Interesting, though.




                  From “ Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell


                  ….. the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play.

                  Exhibit A in the talent argument is a study done in the early 1990's by the psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and tow colleagues at Berlin's elite Academy of Music. With the help of the Academy's professors, they divided the school's violinists into three groups. In the first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. In the second were those judged to be merely “good.” In the third were students who were unlikely to ever play professionally and who intended to be music teachers in the public school system. All of the violinists were asked the same question: over the course of you entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced?

                  Everyone from all three groups started playing at roughly the same age, around five years old. In those first few years, everyone practiced roughly the same amount, about two or three hours a week. But when the students were around the age of eight, real differences started to emerge. The students who would end the best in their class began to practice more than everyone else: six hours a week by age nine, eight hours a week by age twelve, sixteen hours a week by age fourteen, and up and up, until by the age of twenty the were practicing- that is, purposefully and single- mindedly playing their instruments with the intent to get better- well over thirty hours a week. By contract, the merely good students had totaled eight thousand hours, and the future music teachers had totaled just over four thousand hours.

                  Ericsson and his colleagues then compared amateur pianists with professional pianists, The same pattern emerged. The amateurs never practiced more than about three hours a week over the course of their childhood, and by the age of twenty they had totaled two thousand hours of practice. The professionals, on the other hand, steadily increased their practice time every year, until by the age of twenty they, like the violinists, had reached ten thousand hours.

                  The striking thing about Ericsson's study is that he and his colleagues couldn't find any “naturals,” musicians who floated effortlessly to the top while practicing a fraction of the time their peers did. Nor could they find any “grinds,” people who worked harder than anyone else, yet just didn't have what it takes to break the top ranks. Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder that everyone else. They work much,much harder.

                  The idea the excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.

                  “The emerging picture form such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert- in anything,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin. “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn't address why some people get more out of their practice sessions that others do. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”

                    10,000 hours?  Holy crap.  I'll be 114 by then.  Is there even an Age Group Category for that?!  :-)


                    10,000 hours... Thats a really long time. Alot longer than even most Chevy engines last.....

                    The Plan '15 →   ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞

                      Training and mastering a skill seem a little different.


                      I totally agree.


                      The other thing that always strikes me (and in full disclosure, I've never made it all the way through "Outliers") is that he's basically looking at groups that are already pretty elite. In the case of the musicians they had already been accepted to a top music school. So basically his theory can be summed up as: Among those who posses the natural talent to be truly elite at something, those who practice the most come closest to their potential. Which is like ... duh.


                      Gladwell was also a really good runner in high school and college. He ran a 4:05 for 1500m at age 14. So a 5:03 road mile at age 50 has as much to do with talent as any 10,000 hours of running he's done.

                      Runners run.


                        There's a Sophmore in VA that just set the national mark in the 3000 (8:16) and he's only been running a couple years. In fact, until HS he swore he'd never be a runner.  Oh, to have just a sliver of their genes....


                        He has good genes but they've come to the fore after a couple of years of absolutely stellar training and dedication. Funny how that works.

                        The process is the goal.

                        Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.

                          Practice makes perfect, but when it comes to running, my perfect will never be Meb's perfect.


                          Now back to my 38,697th hour of TV. Compared to some, I'm a neophyte in this skill.

                          Log & Profile            Crusted Salt #210


                            In Tai Chi it takes 15 years of practice every day before you have a clue.

                            I am almost there.

                            Running takes 3-5 years to reach your best.

                              Now back to my 38,697th hour of TV. Compared to some, I'm a neophyte in this skill.


                              -- Well, if you are watching all documentaries and other educational channels, you should be ready for a hell of a run on Jeopardy.

                              The Plan '15 →   ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞

                              Feeling the growl again


                                Running takes 3-5 years to reach your best.


                                It took me sixteen.....apparently took Meb a bit longer than that.


                                7-9 is probably a better meaningless and insignificant estimate.


                                I'm familiar with the book but there is a significant difference between a practiced skill and athletic ability.  Apples and oranges.


                                Somewhere out there, there is a video of some dude recording himself playing saxophone or something like that each month for like 10 years as he grows up.  It's amazing.

                                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


                                I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills