QT: Perfection Isn’t Always Possible, but Progress Is

Would you class yourself as a perfectionist?

How is the expectation of perfection working out for you?

I think all of us would prefer that our training, races, and life outside of running would always go as planned.

However, here in the real world, perfection is much more of the exception than the rule.

Holding Out Hope for Perfection

As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, we runners tend to be creatures of habit.

And as such, getting into a good routine is beneficial for most of us.

That’s why, for many of us, we do the same types of runs on the same days each week.

We do our long runs on the same day each week. Our off days are similarly routine. We also do the same types of workouts on set days most of the time.

When our normal running routine gets disrupted it can really throw us off quite a bit.

And when we get into serious training mode for a race, a slight disruption to the schedule tends to be even more magnified.

Many runners, especially you Type A people, get into this frame of mind that we are going to do every workout, as dictated by our schedule, no matter what.

And we all know how that tends to turn out…

Good, Better, Best

A discussion that I’ve had with a few of the athletes I coach, as well as with some runners I’m connected with on social media, centers around the idea of focusing on good, better, and best as much as possible.

In most cases, best is the goal.

But when best can’t happen, for one reason or the other, all is not lost.

Good and better are still quite viable, and valuable, options.


Best is probably fairly self-explanatory.


Best is when your workout goes pretty much exactly as planned.

You weren’t pressed for time, so you had no problem doing your warm up routine and cool down/stretch routine on either side of your run.

Best is always the ideal.

But in my life at least, best doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like.


If best isn’t in the cards, that hardly means that all is lost.

How can you rearrange things a bit in order to get the most of this particular situation?

Better is still beneficial. It still moves the needle. Better will still get you to your goal.

So then, why do some of us struggle to accept better as a positive?

Why do we beat ourselves up when we are unable to attain best and thumb our noses at better?


If best is the ideal and better is still legitimate progress, what is good?

Good is more than enough to keep things going in the right direction.

Is good perfect? No.

But is it better than nothing?

Just Do Something

The main point of this post is simple: when in doubt just do something.

There are going to be plenty of instances in your running life where things aren’t going to go as planned.

If you just throw your hands up and say screw it every time something goes sideways, you’ll find it very difficult to continue growing and improving in our sport.

Do something.

Find a way to keep moving forward.

Look for better. And if better isn’t in the cards either, then go with good.

There is always a good option, you just have to be willing to take the good option when perfection isn’t going to happen.

Do You Struggle with Striving for Perfection in Your Running Life?

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