In our world of endurance sports, where the pressure to go longer and push boundaries often prevails, Raz Rauf stands out because of his individuality. In this interview, Raz shares his journey into running, his unique perspective on distances, and embracing the joy of running. As the founder of the newsletter “Running Sucks 101,” Raz offers insights into the mindset of a runner who values efficiency and personal enjoyment over societal expectations.
Getting Started in Running: A Personal Journey
Raz’s running journey began in high school, running the 400 meters on his track team. However, his commitment to running took a hiatus during his college years. It wasn’t until he moved to London for work that he rediscovered his passion for running along the lush green riverbanks near his apartment. Motivated by the desire to stay active and the convenience of running as a solo pursuit, Raz found solace in the rhythmic cadence of his footsteps.
Running Without a Goal: Finding Joy in the Process
Unlike many athletes driven by specific race goals, Raz started running without a clear objective. His initial motivation was rooted in the general health advice of getting 45 minutes of exercise three times a week. The efficiency of running, the simplicity of putting on shoes and heading out the door, appealed to his practical nature. Raz embraced the philosophy of “run the distance that makes you smile,” focusing on 5Ks and 10Ks, distances that aligned with his personal sense of fulfillment.
The Camaraderie of Shorter Distances: Finding Comfort in 5Ks and 10Ks
For Raz, the 5K and 10K distances are not just about personal satisfaction but also about the camaraderie shared with fellow runners. These distances allow him to be competitive with himself and maintain a balance between staying fit and enjoying the social aspect of running with friends. The joy of starting a race together, even if paths diverge during the run, adds an extra layer of fulfillment to Raz’s running experience.
Running Sucks 101: Embracing the Challenges
The name “Running Sucks 101” might seem contradictory, but for Raz, it encapsulates the essence of the sport. He acknowledges the moments of struggle during a run and encourages others to identify and address the challenges. By understanding why running may feel difficult at times, individuals can find solutions to make it more enjoyable. This perspective aligns with Raz’s belief in constant improvement and efficiency. Even if improvement brings temporary discomfort, he knows that getting better is happening.
Diversity and Inclusion in Running: Building Networks for Minorities
As someone of South Asian heritage, Raz acknowledges the need for more inclusive spaces in the running community. He emphasizes the importance of purposefully creating visible networks for various minorities within the running world. By building a culture of inclusivity and representation, Raz believes that individuals from diverse backgrounds can feel welcomed and encouraged to embrace running as part of their lives.
Running as a Tool for Self-Understanding and Resilience
Beyond the physical benefits, running has provided Raz with a deep understanding of his body and mind. He sees running and yoga as diagnostic tools that allow him to connect with his body on a technical and scientific level. Running has instilled resilience in Raz. Over the years he has been able to elevate his threshold while teaching him to accept discomfort as a natural part of the process. He views running as a means to improve incrementally, aiming for a 1% betterment each day.
Balancing Family and Running: Prioritizing Responsibilities
Raz’s approach to running reflects his commitment to family responsibilities. He navigates the delicate balance between being an active runner and a present father and husband. Choosing shorter distances and avoiding time-consuming long runs aligns with his dedication to efficiency and family obligations. Raz acknowledges that as his children grow older, he may have more time to explore longer distances. For now, he finds fulfillment in the simplicity of his current routine.
Advice for Aspiring Runners: Start Slow and Enjoy the Process
For those contemplating entering the world of running, Raz’s advice is simple: start with a run-walk approach. Avoid the common pitfall of going too fast too soon, and focus on embracing the joy of running. By starting at a manageable pace and gradually building up, individuals can discover the benefits of running without feeling overwhelmed. Raz encourages newcomers to make running an enjoyable experience, free from unnecessary pressures or expectations.
Embracing Individuality in the Running Community
As the conversation unfolds, it becomes evident that Raz Rauf brings a refreshing perspective to the running community. His emphasis on individual joy, efficiency, and personal growth challenges conventional norms within the sport. Through “Running Sucks 101” and his approach to distances, Raz invites others to explore running on their terms. In a world where running often carries external pressures, Raz stands as a testament to the power of embracing one’s unique journey in the pursuit of joy and self-discovery.