Better known for vocal exercises than aerobic ones, Travis frontman Fran Healy reveals that he enjoys pounding the pavements of Berlin in his spare time. He spoke to us about his running life…
Where It Began
I started running with Bellahouston Harriers when I was a kid in Glasgow. I mainly did 800m but I also really enjoyed doing the triple jump. I was always jumping around and being active, so it was a good outlet for that.
When I joined the band I stopped running so much and started drinking and smoking more, but in the last 10 years I’ve got back into it. My son Clay started saying: “Papa, you’ve got a jelly belly!” So I thought I’d better start exercising.
Where I Run
I live in Berlin and run around the east of the city. I usually go for runs in Volkspark Friedrichshain, which is the oldest public park in Berlin. I also did a bit of running in Norway where we recorded our latest album. I know every band says this but it was such a beautiful place to record music and it was a great place to go running too.
I do some gentle stretching - hamstrings, adductor muscles, that kind of thing - then I just ease into it.
After long runs in Norway I’d take my trousers off (steady Fran…) and just stand in the sea. It cools you down and helps reduce the lactic acid, kind of like an ice bath. It really helped. Back home, I usually just go for a walk to cool down. As a singer, I also go to steam rooms and saunas for my voice. It’s a bit weird doing it in Germany as they’re not shy about getting their kit off. For a modest Scotsman like me, it’s a little more daunting!
I took part in the Berlin relay marathon in November 2012 (picture below) to raise funds for my son Clay’s school. I volunteered to do the 12k, which I did in 58 minutes. It was good but it was a hard run. No proper training was not a good idea ...
Considering A Marathon?
Nah, I don’t think I’d ever do one. People who do those seem a bit crazy to me. The longest I’ve ever run is 17k which was tough enough. I was working out what Olympic marathon runners do and it’s about 22k per hour, which is incredible.
Kit Bag Favourite?
I really like my Nike + Sportwatch. I mainly got it out of curiosity but it also helps keep me motivated. My heart rate is normally about 47 bpm, which I’m slightly worried about. All my friends are much higher and I’m like Yoda! But it speeds up very quickly once I start running, believe me.
Writing To Reach You
I'm a bit of a geek so when I saw that the watch tracked your runs, I decided to try and write out words with it. I’ve done my and my wife Nora’s name (pictured) and I’m going to do my son’s name next.
It freaks me out not being able to hear myself so I don’t listen to music when I run. It’s nice to have some quiet time too when you make music for a living, so my runs are pretty peaceful.
I gave up meat as a thank you to Paul McCartney after he played bass on my solo album and I think it’s made a big difference to my health in general. I have a lot more energy than I did before. I’ve also recently given up bread and dairy products.
Travis Still Going Strong?
Yes! We’re 40 now or thereabouts. We should be done, we’re fat dads! Well we’re not fat… we’re quite svelte actually, but it’s amazing that we’re still doing this.