The Best Lessons from a Track Meet

track 1Track meets provide a unique perspective on being the best. At one meet, a runner can get the best time and win a race only to find himself less than the best at the next meet even if he runs the same time as in the previous meet.

Then there’s the idea of a personal best. Regardless of time in comparison to other runners, running a personal record (PR) trumps overall place and time. Even the slowest runner at a meet relishes the idea of a personal best.

Also consider the idea that the best in one race, say a 400 meter (once around the track) may very well fail to be the best in a sprint (shorter than a 400 meter) or in a 3,200 meter (8 times around track). In other words, the best in one race usually won’t be the best in every race.

track 2We tell our son, “We’re happy when you do your best,” whatever that might be on any given day. We remind him that his best will vary from day to day too. If he gets a personal record, we need not remind him of this. But when he struggles, like all of us do, he needs reminded of how best fluctuates but always remains the goal of the day.

The best involves giving all you have to the task at hand. It doesn’t mean living for chance but combining chance with preparation. Weather can impact your best, other runners can impact your best, even the crowd may impact your best. But your preparation, good or bad and sufficient or not, exists as an element you can control, and it also significantly impacts your best.

Best also never means that better isn’t possible, first because best varies from day to day and second because the element of growth always leaves open the possibility of a new best. The key, then, lies in progress over perfection.

Strive for the best.

Be your best.

Prepare for the best.

Appreciate the best.

Push beyond the best.

Progress over perfection.

DISCUSSION: Do you always strive for your best, whatever that is on any given day? If not, what needs to change for this to happen?

12 thoughts on “The Best Lessons from a Track Meet

  1. I like the cute pix of your family! My husband and several kids are runners – I wish I enjoyed it, but alas, I don't. I just go to their races and try to look sweaty and tired so people think I'm a runner. ;o)

  2. Paul must have been a pretty athletic guy, because you see sports analogies coming from him often. I love the concept here about focus. It's not just looking at others that gets us distracted. It could be looking backward at where we've been, looking down at where we are instead of keeping our eyes focused forward. That's something I'm trying to keep in mind lately.

    • Would be interesting to do a study on sports in the Bible. They are some of my favorite verses. I fully believe that your focus determines your reality, which means that focus is EVERYTHING.

  3. While in High School I was on the varsity Cross Country and track and field team so I can totally relate well with this post. I consider my spiritual race going well, I focus on my God given purpose and my race. Great post and thoughts Kari.

  4. In a recent baseball game, I remember watching a base runner lose a step by looking back rather than focusing on the goal–the base. Paul wrote, "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). This passage compares our faith efforts with running a race.

    • Hmmm… you've got me thinking more and expanding the ideas in this post. My youngest is in the midst of baseball season right now, and I think there might be some great lessons there too. As a runner, I see a lot of God-lessons in running, and I think I sometimes miss them in other sports.

  5. Hi Kari! Great analogy. I have always taught me girls to do their best and they have nothing to be ashamed of. To play and slough off is not the way of competition or winning or giving your best. To go out and give it all you got, even in a losing cause, is much better to digest. Thanks for the challenge.
    My recent post Divided

  6. Focus determines your reality, which means that focus is EVERYTHING. Thats a mouthful of truth as they say where I am from. Great challenge for our everyday race we are in.

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