We speak to former Olympic swimmer Fran Halsall about life out of the pool and taking up the challenge of running The New York Marathon with New Balance.
Q: Could you tell us about your background and how you got into swimming?
I was a really competitive kid that loved all sports and had to win everything I took part in. I used to go to my grandma and grandad’s house and try on all the medals that my aunty had won from swimming and decided that I wanted some of my own, so I asked my parents to take me to a swimming club so I could get into racing.
Q: How does your weekly training differ now compared to when you were a professional swimmer?
It’s completely different I have a business that I am running now so finding time to fit in training around that is difficult, whereas when I was a professional swimmer I had to try and fit everything else in around my training. I used to swim ten times a week and do three weights sessions on top of that. Now I probably exercise three times a week.
Q: What motivated you to swim professionally?
I loved what I was doing. I got to see the world, meet lots of interesting people and ever since I was little, competing in an Olympic Games was always my dream – so the motivation for me was chasing my dream.
Q: What motivates you now?
I have just opened a coffee shop so my motivation work wise is to make that as successful as I can. In terms of sporting motivation, running in The New York Marathon this November is a massive motivation to train. I have never done anything like it before so I’m motivated by the fact that it’s going to be a really brutal challenge that I want to be as prepared for as possible.
Q: What are your goals over the next few years?
My goals over the next few years are to find a sport that I enjoy doing as much as I enjoyed swimming and take it up as a hobby and also see what other challenges I can get my teeth into after the marathon. Maybe something cycling based.
Q: What would be your advice to a young, aspiring swimmer wanting to eventually turn professional?
Success is never a straight path. The biggest lesson I learnt was how to be resilient, getting up and giving it another go when you have failed isn’t easy but it gives you great tools to be successful in sport.
Why did you decide to run in The New York Marathon this November?
I retired from competitive swimming in January and found it difficult to go to the gym or do any cardio when I wasn’t specifically going with a goal of what I was working towards so the marathon gave me a target and gave me a goal.
Which sportswear label do you use for running and how does your equipment help with your running?
I use New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7 Trainers for running – they are really light and comfortable whilst at the same time being sturdy which is what I need with my floppy swimmer ankles.
What technology or gadgets do you use to help you improve your running?
I always wear headphones for running as listening to music helps me pass the miles and the Strada App to track my progress.
Do you wear sports labels when you are not running / outside the gym?
I am comfiest in trainers so nearly everyday I will be found in a pair. Currently the New Balance 574 Sport are my go to choice.
What does being an ambassador for New Balance involve and what values do you share with New Balance?
New Balance’s cross between lifestyle and technical ranges are a great match for me as someone who loves having the best quality kit for training but also likes to look stylish at the weekends when I’m hanging out in my coffee shop.
They are passionate about what they are creating so being an ambassador of a brand I would choose to wear anyway makes running a marathon in partnership with them ten times easier.
Francesca Halsall is a New Balance Ambassador who is currently training for The New York City Marathon in partnership with New Balance on the 5th November 2017.