Athlete Spotlight: Ryan Raff

Athlete spotlight interview with Lehi senior Ryan Raff.  Ryan starts the season ranked 16th in Saucony's Flo 50 rankings. Ryan had an amazing Jr year both in XC and track.  Ryan finished 4th in Utah State XC Championship and he will be the top returner in the 4A division.  Ryan continued his Jr year by setting new PRs in all of his indoor and outdoor events.  Plus he was the only one in the State of Utah to finish before Casey Clinger in the 3200m.

Ryan Raff's Personal Bests

800m1:59.05Region 4 Championships (2017)
1600m4:15.87Utah State Track and Field Championships (2017)
3200m8:58.76Arcadia Invitational (2017)
2 mile (xc)9:44.00Westlake Grass Relays (2017)
3 mile14:52.60Utah State XC Championship
5k15:23.00Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional (2015)

How did you first get started running?

Two of my older brothers ran track and cross country in high school so they kind of inspired me to start running. I started running in the mornings during the summer before 7th grade with my dad and a guy in my neighborhood.

Favorite workout?

My favorite workout is probably long tempos. I like to gradually build as the workout goes along and my body can adjust to the pace. So by the end of a 6-10 mile tempo I've picked it up quite a bit but it still feels controlled.

Least favorite workout?

I don't really have a least favorite workout, it kind of just depends on how I'm feeling. But if I had to pick I'd probably say distance runs when it's windy.

How do you personally prepare yourself mentally and physically for a race?

I prepare myself mentally and physically for a race by doing workouts that mimic racing situations. In training, most of our workouts are on grass and around 5k pace. Also, the day of before the race I like to do pre meet strides on the grass with spikes and visualize the upcoming race. Then leading up to the race, I try to keep my thoughts confident and motivating and push out any negativity.

Pre race superstitions?

I don't have any pre race superstitions that I can think of. I also don't have a set pre race routine, I just go by how I'm feeling. One thing I like to do is make sure my bib is pinned on my jersey well before I warm up because one of my teammates forgot to pin his on once. 

Most memorable race?

My most memorable race is the seeded 3200m at Arcadia this last track season. With a large field, I stayed near the back for the first mile to stay out of trouble. After being in dead last at one point, I slowly moved up and then surged into the top 5. With 800 to go, it was just me and another kid. He made a move with a lap to go and opened up a pretty good gap. With 200 to go, I heard the announcer say something along the lines of "this race has yet to be decided" and I went. I passed him in the last 100 and won with an 8:58. It was awesome because this was my first time even approaching 9 minutes and I didn't think I could go under at this point.

Where are you at on college decisions?

As far as college goes, I'm not close to making a decision yet. I have 3 official visits scheduled to Utah St, BYU, and Northern Arizona. I've also been talking to SUU, Weber State, Cal, and Stanford. Once I've been on some visits and talked it all over with family, coaches, and teammates, I'm sure I'll know which one will be the right fit for me.

What are your top 3 goals you wish to accomplish this season?

My top 3 goals this season are to make it to state as a team, be the individual 4A state champion, and get top 5 at nationals.