Success as a runner is dependent on many things; however, after reading Miler by Steve Scott, I am reminded that the relationship between a coach and his athlete is vital. The relationship of a coach to an athlete has my mind buzzing, thinking of what I tell my athletes, and how important it is to trust the coach. I recently was speaking with a few of my athletes when an analogy came to mind.
The conversation was about workouts and what I thought was working and what will continue to work. I asked my athlete if he had a girlfriend and if she was the most beautiful woman and smartest woman in the world. He, of course, answered that she was not the most beautiful or the smartest. Don’t worry! I am not picking on my athlete's girlfriend; I am simply getting to my point. I then stated that I am not the smartest or even the most experienced coach in the world, but for some reason he chose to run for me, just like he chose to date his girlfriend. I followed up with how well would this relationship between you and your girlfriend work if there was not trust. What if one of them was giving it their all, while the other one simply did what was easy or convenient. Without trust, commitment, and respect, a relationship between a couple or a coach and an athlete will be doomed to failure. An athlete who does only half of the workouts according to plan will go nowhere, and if the athlete tries to do the coach's workouts plus extra workouts, he will soon be injured or his times will be slower. You may not always understand your coach or your significant other, but if you want the relationship to work, you must trust them and go forward even when times are hard.
When I look at myself, I think of my relationship with Christ. God gives me a play book, and he gives me pastors and friends for encouragement, a lot like a track team. It's not always easy to see the big picture, and I quite often end up astray. This makes me think of how frequently God refers to me and to his followers as sheep. Growing up in the country, I never wanted anything to do with sheep as they are, in my opinion, the dumbest of all farm animals. Is this why God refers to us as sheep and Him as a Shepherd? This actually sounds quite possible, as we are often doing stupid things that we later realize are far from what is best for us. In no way would I call my athletes dumb farm animals, but they, just like me, sometimes walk away from what is best because they want to get results quicker or even a completely different result. Sometimes then, God, our Shepherd, must step in and lead us back to what is right, just like a coach leading an athlete back to what is best.
Our society is often driven by a "get rich quick" mentality, and people want success overnight. However, developing a relationship with Christ and developing as a runner both take time. Some of the most successful runners have had quite different training plans, but almost all had great coaches who they trusted, and that is the element that is key. Also, some of the most famous characters in the Bible had to do some crazy things and trust that what God was telling them was going to work. The relationship of trusting in one another is the backbone of successful coaching and the backbone of faith.
To sum things up, if you want success, you must trust, you must put forth effort, and you must do your very best every day. A relationship with a coach, Christ, or even your significant other will never work if you are not both pursuing the same goal in a manner that balances the scales. Whatever the situation, a successful relationship must be one in which both parties are giving equally, and both are seeking to better the other.