Plenty of post-grads go abroad after college, but Becky Wade took her travels to the next level when she spent 2012 crisscrossing the continents. During her trip, Wade, 30, logged 3,500 miles to tap into the local running scene in each of the nine countries she visited, ultimately documenting her journeys in her acclaimed memoir, Run the World: My 3,500 Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe. Today, Wade—who burst onto the marathon scene in 2013 with a 2:30:41 debut—lives and trains in Boulder, Colorado. And as an Olympic hopeful in the marathon, she’s turned her focus toward her next dream destination: Tokyo, in 2020.
On her staying power as a runner
I put a lot of stock into hard work, consistency and sticking with the program. Nothing really has changed recently. I’ve had the same coach, Jim Bevan, for 12 years, since college. I’ve settled down in Boulder, which is so ideal for training. And my husband, Will, is a steady force in my life and my favorite running companion.
On her ideal destination
Ethiopia is really special to me. The people are so generous and welcoming, and the
training style among the elite runners is refreshing and challenging. The terrain is
beautifully rugged, and the simplicity and vibrancy of life there really captures me.
On traveling solo
Connect with the locals. I stayed with 72 different hosts in the year I traveled. And no
matter what country I hit, I had someone there to show me around, guide me to the best
places to run, and help me overcome language barriers.
On what she’s learned through travel
My travels have taught me that I’m more flexible and adaptable than I give myself credit
for. As a pro runner, everything—my practice schedule, race schedule, travel, naps, and
meals—are centered around a routine that’s safe and comfortable. When I travel, I have
to adapt to different time zones and other people’s schedules. It can be freeing to go with
HER GO-TO MARATHON WORKOUT
During the latter part of Wade’s race buildup, she always works in a long tempo run at
marathon pace (that’s a speedy sub-5:40 per mile clip for her). “I find terrain that’s
undulating to mimic a race course,” she says. “It really helps me dial in that pace.”