Running takes commitment. Most runners work full-time, endure a daily commute, spend time with family and more. Somewhere in between we all try to find a time to run.
Musician Fran Snyder knows about finding time to run. His hectic schedule keeps him on the road and working odd hours.
When did you start to run? 8 years old.
What got you started? My dad told me I was about to get spanked.
How often do you run? Now, 3 or 4 times a week, whether I'm in trouble or not.
What was the first race/event you entered? Gasparilla 5k in Tampa, FL around 1993.
What made you enter your first event? a friend invited me
Favorite event? Race for the Cure 5k, because of what it means to my wife. (she lost her mom to breast cancer). She also beat me for the first time last year, which was also Very special to her.
As a muscian that works odd hours how do you fit in runs? I've never been much of a morning person. And growing up in Florida, daytime runs can be dreadful. So I've actually gotten into the habit of running at night. It's a great way to wind down after a good show, when you've got too much adrenaline to sleep. It's also a good way to clear the bar smoke out of your lungs after a long night of breathing in 10 times more than the average person.
As someone who travels, how do you fit in runs? I have the good fortune of playing on the college circuit, and most schools have good running opportunities, whether it's a track or a path or whatever. So it's usually not difficult to find a good running place near a campus. Club gigs can require a bit more research than I care to put in, so I usually go with the flow. Check with the front desk or bell staff about where to go nearby. They usually have no clue, and I end up getting lost and running twice as far as I intended. But hey, that can be a good thing, right?
A typical week on the road consists of (ex: travel time, late nights, etc.)? Typically one heavy drive day to get to the area of a tour. Then 1 to 4 hours to get from one show to the next. And a long drive home. College shows usually end pretty early 9, 10 or 11, so I usually go out afterwards, with musicians, or students. Club gigs usually end late, so it's often straight back to the hotel afterwards. I/we rarely get up before 10am, and usually beg for a late checkout from the hotel. Otherwise, we are homeless from noon until showtime and that is pretty annoying. During the busy college season, I tend to be be gone one or two weeks and then back 5 days. More away than home.
On average how many days are you away from home in a month? It varies quite a bit by the season. during the summer, and during heavy recording periods I stay home more. 10 to 15 this fall.
Have you done events while on the road? Not yet, my shows tend to be too late at night, especially on weekends. A 7am or 8am start time makes it impossible for me to get a good night's sleep if I do a race. If I do a race, I usually take the friday night off, and that's next to impossible on the road. weekend shows tend to be the best.
Favorite place you have run on the road? #1 Along the Potomac near Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Great path, great scenery. #2 Sunrise run along Pompano Beach, watching turtles lay eggs and drag themselves back into the ocean. Amazing
Favorite place to run in Atlanta (home)? I like to hustle up Kennesaw Mountain once a week, but calling that a run would be overstating a bit.
You just recently moved up to do a 10K after doing 5Ks, how did your training change? I ran more. Seriously, When I first started doing races, I never trained properly. I would build up to two miles (remember - it's Florida in the afternoon, 93 degrees, 98% humidity, ok?) and rely on adrenaline on race day to get me to the finish line. Even though it always did, I never really impressed myself as a runner. I had no running plan other than adding distance. Now, I have at least 3, sometimes 4 different runs a week. One distance run 6 to 7 miles (I try to add 1/4 mile each week, keeping the pace comfortable throughout) One medium run 3 to 4 miles (pushing to my target pace 8 minute miles) One speed run ( mile of warm up, then 1/2 lap repeats, then 1/4 lap repeats, then 1/2 mile cool down) ouch. Started experimenting with the "4 day run week", which adds a recovery run to the mix.
What made you decide to increase your distance? My wife took the "Body for Life" challenge last spring, and had impressive results. Though I was skeptical at first, I couldn't deny that she was not only looking great, but feeling better as well. So I decided to give it a try the second time around (they do it 5 times per year I think.) Aside from an eating plan and lifting 3 times per week, the program also requires 20 minutes of cardio (intervals, specifically) 3 times per week. I really enjoy the climate and the topography of the outdoors here (as compared to hotter, flatter, and more humid Florida) so I realized I could actually enjoy running here. I started setting realistic, but challenging (for me) running goals, and meeting them. These small successes encouraged me to keep going. So now I keep setting new goals.
Does your running effect your music or vice versa? Running greatly increases my stamina on stage, and increases my breath capacity and vocal range. I also like to rehearse lyrics on the comfortable runs. Music training, I think really helps my running. I'm very aware of my tempo, and can often lock into a cadence/rhythm to get me through the tough parts of a run.
You have released three CDs in the last 10 years, how is each one different? Well, I think they are different on many levels. My songwriting has improved, especially my ability to say more with fewer words. My attention to detail has also greatly increased, both in the writing/arranging process, and during the recordings. I'm getting more into "groove" oriented music, and really aspire to write great stories that make your head bob, or your butt move.
Planning to release anything soon? Always. But it's always later instead of sooner. I just put a new EP for sale on CDBaby.com. It has some rough mixes of the new stuff I'm working on. The full album should be out by year end.
You have paid for those CDs, which is no small feat, how have you done that? VISA, and through the support of loyal fans who sometime order ahead of time to help me with the production costs. They are wonderful people.
How tough is it to be an "indie musician"? Consider this. 80,000 CDs were released last year. How many do you think you heard? However, it depends on your goals. The more you want from your music, the more you have to give.
Biggest audience you have played for? 2500 people, opening for Boz Scaggs at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater FL. 2000 the following night at Hard Rock Live in Orlando. Smallest? Drove from Ft. Lauderdale to Orono Maine to play for 5 people. Sold 4 CDs. Not bad.
What other artists have you worked with? Too many to count. My favorites are Peter Moon in Nashville, Beth Hirsch (out of France), and I just recently worked with DJLord of Public Enemy, who did some amazing turntable scratching on my new project Six Strings and Vinyl.
Tell us more about your new project Six Strings & Vinyl. It basically combines my "groovier" acoustic material with R&B and hip hop beats. I have a DJ who spins beats, scratches, and does some light rapping and a few spoken word pieces. I add acoustic guitar and vocals and it's the most fun I've ever had making music. Our first show is coming up. Check the website for details!