Paul often used illustrations that resonated with the people of his day. Athletics was an important aspect of first century Corinthian culture; it required discipline and training from a very young age. Similarly, our spiritual progress requires discipline, training, and effort. Victory depends on the refusal to allow our eyes to wonder, our minds to settle, and our affections to run after things that draw us away from Christ. In looking to the love of Christ, we are compelled to run.