Becky Wade, a Rice University alum, has taken her professional career by storm after graduating in 2012. She debuted with a win at the 2013 California International Marathon in an impressive time of 2:30:41 and has qualified to race at the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials in February. While at Rice, Becky achieved 4X All-American honors, Qualified for the finals in the Olympic Trials 3,000m Steeplechase (2012), and competed at the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championship in Bydgoszcz, Poland in the 3,000m Steeplechase. How does she maintain her natural speed while training for distances between 10k-marathon? Mile repeats are Becky's favorite hard workout for a number of reasons:
Favorite Motivational Quote:
“You have the talent. Believe in yourself. Never doubt your goals.” -Coach Joe Vigil
What is your favorite hard workout?
My favorite hard workout is mile repeats, which I run in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood next to Rice University. The road is smooth, fast, and shaded by huge oak trees on both sides, and it has been an important workout spot for generations of Rice teams. Depending on the time of year, I’ll do 4-8 repeats, and when I run that workout well, I know I’m ready to race!
What do you feel it benefits?
I feel the benefits of miles because each rep requires a sustained laser focus, and I ask a lot of myself during that workout. I like to slowly ramp up the speed so that by the end, I’m running quicker on heavy legs, which I think is good race simulation.
When do you like it?
I generally approach mile repeats with nerves and excitement, kind of like a race, and my momentum seems to build as the workout progresses. The last few reps are always tough, but I know those are great opportunities to grow and test my limits.
Do you do best with other people running with you during the workout, or is it best done solo?
Since college, I've done this workout as well as most others alone, but my coach, Jim Bevan, bikes alongside me for almost all of them. In the last year, I’ve been able to overlap a good amount with Mary Davies, a 2:28 marathoner from New Zealand, and it’s always such a treat when I get to collaborate with her.
Do you recommend other runners try it?
Mile repeats are a staple of many programs, and I think they’re a great workout to keep in the rotation. They’re a good check-in point at different points of a season, and depending on the number of reps and pace, I think they can be beneficial to any race distance from the 800 to the marathon.
What do you do for recovery after this workout and before your next?
My recovery plan has become increasingly important as I’ve moved up to the marathon and have been logging bigger volumes than before. As soon as I finish a workout, I do a slow cool-down (often barefoot on grass if possible), grab a smoothie (which I’ve made and frozen, and left to thaw while I run), and immediately start replenishing while I stretch and roll out. The R8 has quickly become a favorite recovery tool because it’s convenient to carry around, easy to use, hits every spot, and leaves me in a much better state. After all that, I generally hop in an ice bath for 10 minutes, and then go home for a proper meal and ideally a nap!
Fun Fact! Becky is in the midst of publishing her first book, Going the Distance, about her year-long running fellowship following graduating from Rice University. It will detail her travels and training, telling the stories of the 22 different countries and training groups she was able to encounter in this year.