Chris Heuisler is the Resident RunWESTIN Concierge for Westin Hotels & Resorts. Aside from competing in 25 marathons in 20 states, he has one of the coolest jobs ever. In 2013, Chris beat more than 1,000 applicants to the finish line for this dream job after a month-long selection process and currently leads a team of nearly 50 RunWESTIN concierges around the country at various properties -- and interacts with runners via social media to provide tips and tricks. Find out what a running concierge does, his favorite city for racing, and his tips for staying fit on the road.
Let’s break it down: What exactly does your job entail?
The job is still relatively new, so what it entails constantly changes. For instance, when I got hired there weren’t more than 50 Run Concierges around the U.S. and Canada. Now there are, and I’m somewhat responsible to ensure that the program continues to be up and “running.” Aside from assisting with the Run Concierge program, I’m primarily responsible for helping our runner guests stay relaxed and ready to run on race weekends through our partnership with the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series. As a result, I’m on the road often (about one trip every other weekend). I try to take out some of the stresses that usually accompany traveling to a race by having answers to their questions. That’s what a concierge does, right?
What does a running concierge do at each of their hotels?
The Run Concierge has a full-time position at the hotel (like a front desk associate, director of sales and marketing, etc.), but they happen to be passionate about running. The Run Concierge will lead two runs per week from the property for guests who choose to take advantage of the service.
What’s the benefit to using a runWESTIN concierge than, say, just going for a jog on your own while traveling?
Some guests use the run with the Run Concierge as a running tour of a new city. We don’t expect our Run Concierges to be running experts, rather we encourage them to be local experts in the same way one would expect a [typical] concierge to be a local expert. The only difference is that our Run Concierge knows the best routes, the best running stores, and unique spots on the route that you might not know if you were running by yourself.
What’s so awesome about staying at a Westin hotel?
Geez, where do I begin? The Heavenly Beds are obviously pretty wonderful. I also enjoy the fact that our WestinWORKOUT facilities are open 24/7. When I’m traveling west, I always wake up early and if I have a gym workout scheduled, it's nice knowing that I can head there at any hour. But, mainly, I’d like to think that Westin helps guests embrace wellness on the road. We want everyone leaving feeling better than when they arrived and we’re getting better and better at that.
What are your tips for a guest to stay fit and feel healthy on the road?
It’s difficult to hold yourself accountable on the road as it relates to fitness routines. Travel can often include indulging, and indulging and fitness don’t necessarily match up. That said, having a fitness-oriented game plan set up before you travel can be helpful. If you know you’re going to have a late night the second day of your trip, consider doing a late afternoon workout that day and then allowing yourself to sleep in the next day. I also believe it’s imperative to have a healthy breakfast on the road. Studies have shown that if you start the day healthy, you're more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day as well.
What are some lightweight items that travelers can pack to ensure they can keep fit on the road?
Westin tries to make it easier on fitness-minded travelers by offering guests the Gear Lending program in partnership with New Balance. For just $5, guests can borrow running gear while on the road. Also, I always wear C.E.P compression socks when I fly. It’s not easy to get blood flowing to your lower extremities on a six-hour flight, so I do all that I can to assist, and C.E.P’s socks always do the trick for me.
If you had to choose just one, what’s your favorite city for running and why?
I’m a sucker for mountains and nature. Give me a good trail to run on and I can for hours. Additionally, mountains usually imply altitude and that has its advantages, too. Soooo, my answer is: Boulder, Colorado. I ran with a group of runners out there last October and can’t wait to go back this October. (Lake Tahoe is a very close second, though.)
Need more inspiration for health-minded travel? Check out #runwithaview posts on social media to see which picture-worthy spots runners are working into their travels.