Track and field is a sport which consists running, jumping, and throwing competitions. The running events take place around a track and the field events take place on the grass in the middle of the track.

track and field idioms and phrases

Many idioms originated from track and field and here is a list of them, the sports they are from and examples.

track and field idioms and phrases

jumping idioms

Track and field events that that involve jumping include the high jump, long jump, triple jump, and pole vault.


Here is a list of jumping idioms.

in for the high jump

meaning – likely to be punished
example – When I find out who slashed my tyres, they’ll be in for the high jump.

track and field sayings - jumping idioms - in for the high jump

jump through hoops

meaning – complete many difficult challenges in order to achieve something
example – My friend has been jumping through hoops to get us tickets to Beyoncé.

track and field idioms - jumping idioms - jump through hoops

raise the bar

meaning – increase the quality/standard/expectations
example – The teacher said I raised the bar; it was the best poem she has ever read.

track and field phrases - jumping idioms - raise the bar

running idioms

Track and field events that that involve running include hurdles, sprints, and races of various distances.


Here is a list of running idioms.

against the clock

meaning – in a hurry as there is little time
example – There was a crash on the M1, we’re against the clock now.

track and field idioms - against the clock

change of pace

meaning – different from the normal
example – I’m moving to Canada; it’ll be a complete change of pace for me.

track and field idioms - change of pace

cross the finish line

meaning – finish a job/task
example – After 3 years working on a high-profile case, I’ve finally crossed the finish line.

running idioms - cross the finish line

fall at the first hurdle

meaning – fail at an early stage
example – My new business venture fell at the first hurdle. The bank wouldn’t give me a loan.

track and field phrases - fall at the first hurdle


meaning – a leading contestant/team in a competition
example – Roger Federer is one of the front runners in Wimbledon this year.

running idioms - front-runner

in the running

meaning – a contender in a competition
example – That song is amazing. It’s definitely in the running for Christmas number 1.

track and field idioms - in the running

jump the gun

meaning – do something before the appropriate time
example – I asked her to move in with me. I think I jumped the gun; we’ve only been dating for 2 months.

running idioms - jump the gun

lose track of time

meaning – unaware that so much time has passed
example – The date was great, we lost track of time and spent hours chatting.

track and field idioms - lose track of time

on your marks

meaning – get into your starting position ready to begin
example – On your marks, the exam is about to begin.

running idioms - on your marks

out of the running

meaning – not a contender in a competition
example – If this scandal breaks, Lawler will be out of the running to become Chancellor.

track and field idioms - out of the running

race against time

meaning – try to do something in a short amount of time
example – It as a race against time to get the injured cat to the vet.

running idioms - race against time

run out of time

meaning – have no time left to complete something
example – We’re running out of time. If we don’t fix the roof now, it’ll end up costing thousands.

track and field idioms - run out of time

run with

meaning – be in charge of something and do it independently
example – Do you think I can trust Ryan to run with the case while I’m away?

run with meaning and example

set the pace

meaning – determine the speed/rate
example – Ethel sold 20,000 units this week, she’s set the pace for the rest of us.

running idioms - set the pace

snail’s pace

meaning – very slowly
example – My essay writing is going badly, I’m writing at a snail’s pace.

running idioms - snail's pace

toe the line

meaning – follow the rules
example – You’ve got to start toeing the line or you’ll get kicked out of school.

track and field idioms - toe the line

You can download a table of track and field idioms and phrases below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more sports idioms by clicking on the links below.