The Strength Within

When it comes to marathon run­ning, de­spite hold­ing records in four dif­fer­ent swim­ming cat­e­gories, Fran Hal­sall feels like a fish out of wa­ter

Women's Health (UK) - - NEVER GONNA GIVE UP HOPE -

Even if you have se­ri­ous sport­ing pedi­gree, marathon run­ning is a daunt­ing prospect. Olympic swim­mer Fran Hal­sall re­tired from pro­fes­sional sport in Jan­uary and has since strug­gled to find her new ex­er­cise niche. ‘As I was so used to train­ing for a spe­cific goal, I found it dif­fi­cult to find the mo­ti­va­tion to work out purely for the sake of health. When the op­por­tu­nity to run the New York Marathon with New Bal­ance pre­sented it­self, I jumped at the chance. Fi­nally, I had some­thing to strive for.’ A decade of train­ing as a pro­fes­sional swim­mer has given Fran men­tal and phys­i­cal re­silience. But swim­ming a race that lasts only 24 sec­onds is poles apart from pound­ing the pave­ments for up­wards of four hours. ‘I need to work on stay­ing fo­cused and push­ing through the pain,’ says Fran. Us­ing her swim­ming back­ground in train­ing will help her in­crease her stamina and en­durance. Reg­u­lar pool ses­sions im­prove car­dio while run­ning and re­duce DOMS. What’s more, any nig­gling in­juries can be over­come with re­cov­ery swims, as they help take the pres­sure off weight-bear­ing joints. Fran ac­knowl­edges her time won’t come close to the win­ner, so will just re­ceiv­ing a fin­ish­ers medal be re­ward enough when record break­ing is your norm? ‘I’m run­ning to prove to my­self that I can get the same sense of achieve­ment from com­plet­ing some­thing I never dreamed I would. I want to get to a stage where I en­joy just tak­ing part.’

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