Doing more than possible to achieve an accepted position. A reference best enjoyed by those interested in the ways Victorian England helped to create the way our contemporary society understands the phenomenon of "childhood."
viz., in Lewis Carroll's Alice through the Looking-Glass, she meets the Red Queen. The Red Queen explains that she has to run as fast as possible just in order to remain in place. So, by extension, moving as quickly as possible/doing as much as possible just in order to not lose ground.