Athletes & Celebrities

Travel-Friendly Running Tips from a Pro Athlete

2016 Olympic hopeful Becky Wade missed her chance at Rio, but is still a winner with a new book.

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Travel-Friendly Running Tips from a Pro Athlete

For 12 months the world’s terrain became more than just another running course for former 2016 Olympic hopeful Becky Wade, it also became her classroom.

Wade, a four-time all-America runner at Rice, chronicled her yearlong, 20-plus-country tour in her recently released book, Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Running Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe (July 2016, Amazon.com).

“The experience was wildly different from what I had anticipated,” said 26-year-old Wade, who failed to qualify for the U.S. 3,000-meter steeplechase team in the Olympic Trials, “but in the most fantastic way.”

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Wade was one of 40 recipients of the Thomas J. Grant Fellowship grant, an opportunity that would allow her to travel for a year on a nine-nation educational journey. Instead, over the course of a year, Wade's journey expanded to 22 nations and 72 different sleeping arrangements where she met runners from multiple ethnicities, learned their running customs, traditions, and cuisines, and ultimately created the argument that running is truly the universal sport.

“I found that running was—and continues to be—a matchless outlet for stress, loneliness, anxiety, and many other emotions, and so I was thankful that I had running to keep me sane and grounded in every place I traveled,” said Wade.

Wade shared some of what she learned from her year-long journey with us.

Get running while on the road.

“I’m a firm believer in the shakeout run,” said Wade. “So no matter how bad you feel or how jet-lagged you are after landing, it’s generally a good idea to get settled and go for an easy, light run. I think just embracing the place the culture and the lifestyle of wherever you are is a positive thing that makes the transition easier.”

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Be malleable to each new environment.

“I learned the value of being flexible and adaptable and learned to listen to my body and be less rigid as far as time, distance, schedule, and structure.”

Adjust your running to various altitudes.

“Hydrate really well,” she says, “and take it easy. It normally takes about three weeks to acclimate [to higher altitudes]. So if you’re only there for a short time, don't build any really hard workouts. Don’t set your expectations too high and understand you’re going to be slower. Just appreciate being up there, breathing, moving around and soaking up the scenery.”

Try local cuisine.

“I’m very adventuresome, and because I was staying with runners everywhere I really just ate the way they ate and learned their traditions. I only refused one meal (kitfo, a raw meat in Ethiopia), but everything else I was game to try and do everything with my host on their schedule.”

Find a running partner.

“There’s always a group of runners, whether organized of just loose groups of friends everywhere. There’s always a [running] community; runners are very welcoming.”

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