I’M A RUNNER – DAN SMITH OF BASTILLE – Runner’s World, April 2022 issue


I LOST WEIGHT FROM BACKPACKING, NOT SPORT. I was a large teenager, but shrank from about 18 stone to 11 when I picked up a virus while travelling in the university holidays. It was really surreal, because I had asssumed that was how I would always look. But when the weight fell off, I used that as an excuse to start thinking more about exercise and what I ate. Running is something I’ve been drawn to since then.

I DON’T HAVE MUCH ‘RUNNING CHAT’. But if I see someone wearing a running watch, I will talk to them about it. In recent years I’ve found more and more people will say: ‘It’s just really good for my head, basically.’ It’s really helpful for mental health, to break away, not to be on your phone for a while.

MY FIRST HALF MARATHON WAS MUSIC THEMED. I did Run to the Beat in London in my twenties.

It was interesting to try training properly, to run with an end goal in mind. I guess I kind of enjoyed it, but it was the longest single piece of exercise I’d ever done, I had this really attractive white crust all over my face, and I remember thinking: ‘I will never do this again in my life.’

BUT TIME PASSED, AND I DID THE LONDON MARATHON IN 2019. Having a race in the diary is mega helpful for making you want to get out. I had to put my training schedule together around the band’s European tour dates. Having to do the long runs on our days off was an amazing way to explore a bunch of different cities.

I WILL ALWAYS HATE LUXEMBOURG. I was there for my last long training run before the marathon. Everyone else in the band was getting pissed up in a nice restaurant and I was struggling up these cobbled hills just cursing the city.

I NEVER FEEL IMPOSTER SYNDROME WITH RUNNING. Which is weird because I get it in pretty much every other area of my life. I love how individual it is. You look around at other people running and see how different everyone is. You can take yourself off and run without worrying about what anyone else is doing.

I’M USUALLY DOING THE DIAMETRIC OPPOSITE TO EVERYONE ELSE. On tour there’s a lot of drinking, and pizza, and then there’s me. Even though you’re covering a lot of miles on the bus, doing a similar show every night makes it feel a bit Groundhog Day. It is a weird lifestyle. So it’s nice to have those runs to make the different cities stand out.

A LOT OF BANDS ARE HEALTHIER THESE DAYS. We’ll bump into bands who’ll stay sober for a whole tour. Bastille don’t manage that, but there is more awareness about the importance of looking after yourself. Also younger artists who are more social media focused seem to care more about looking good.

IT’S HARD NOT TO LOOK LIKE A MAD PERSON WHILE I RUN. I get a lot of music ideas when I’m running so I’ll get my phone out and sing into it. While I’m making a new album it becomes the thing you listen to more than anything else, at every stage from writing to demos to recording, and I produce as well, so I’m all over every detail. Running is a good space to try things out.

I ENJOYED MY TRAINING MORE THAN THE MARATHON ITSELF. Everyone says it’s one of the most amazing days of your life so my expectations were pretty high. My friends and I had been too self-deprecating with where we put ourselves at the start, so we spent the majority of the race dodging around slower people which is a completely different way of moving.

I THINK I GAVE MYSELF SOME SORT OF PAINKILLER POISONING. I was taking painkillers during the race as I’d messed up my ankle just before. For about 10 hours afterwards I couldn’t keep anything down. So it wasn’t the most ideal of endings. But would I do it again? Definitely!

Bastille’s new album Give Me The Future is out February 4th. They tour the UK from March 31-April 18 (bastillebastille.com)