Ten Questions with Run Concierge Bradley Kukral
Did you know that many Westin Hotels & Resorts have a dedicated run concierge for their guests? In addition to being a powerful competitor in races in his home region of Hawai’i, Bradley Kukral spends his days dispensing running advice, tips and wisdom as a part of a community of over 250 Westin Run Concierges around the world. For Bradley, running is life!
RunnerClick: Hi Bradley, thank you for taking the time to interview with RunnerClick today! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Bradley Kukral: Aloha! I’m from Minnesota and currently living in Maui, Hawai’i. I’m 35 years old.
RC: What do you find to be most rewarding as a runner?
BK: Getting outside and being able to run is the most rewarding part of being a runner for me. It could be a run on the street, a trail, or the beach. I find it very calming to be out there running alone or with my running group of friends. It’s almost a meditative state of mind for me. No matter where I am running, there’s always this sense of calming for me.
Finishing a race is very rewarding only in the sense that I know I did my best. I never try to compare myself to others and very rarely do I have the mindset that I’m going out there to beat my competition and try to place. As long as I ran my best race the result will speak for itself I tell myself that there are always runners working hard to achieve their goals. So I have to work even harder to achieve mine.
RunWestin, supported by The Westin Hotels, has been very rewarding as well. It allows me to be a part of a community of over 250 Running Concierges around the world. A Run Concierge provides hotel guests with the opportunity to have a running partner as well as learn about the area while staying fit. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this program and to share my love for running with other people from around the world.
RC: Can you tell us about your biggest running related challenge, and how you overcame/are overcoming it?
BK: Starting to run has got to be one of the bigger challenges. At first, I started out on a treadmill at the gym just trying to complete a mile. After a few months of this, I decided to try a fitness test of 1.5 miles… after completing the test I was only in the 18 percentile. Not the greatest I told myself, but I can do better.
Running is a very physically demanding sport. But it is also mentally demanding. The hardest part was telling myself that I just needed to keep running. I started listening to motivational speakers to help me find the confidence and motivation I needed to keep going. Quickly the miles started to add up. At first, it was 2 and 3 miles. Then 4 and 6 miles. After a gentle nudge and encouragement from a new running buddy, Jolene Giles, I did 8 and 10 miles. Then my first half marathon where I took 22nd out of 1000 and 2nd for my age group. I was hooked!
But I still needed to find that mindset of a runner. That ability to tell your mind that you can keep going further and your body will follow. I am still trying to achieve that overall “Headstrong Mindset”. Even though I already have 6 Marathons in only 2 years I’m still going for longer distances and finding out more ways to challenge myself. So this will continue to always be my running challenge. The Mindset to keep going further!!
RC: What type of running is your specialty, and when/where is your next race?
BK: I enjoy all types of running. I enjoy 10K’s, half marathons and full marathons, and relays are becoming a favorite of mine as well. 10K’s and Half Marathons are a lot of fun because given the right conditions and the right conditioning these races are almost all out sprints for me. I will be running at 80% or more for the entire race. I start out with a 70% first mile and after that my miles only get faster. By the end of any race, I’m usually running my fastest mile. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to run a race, but like Steve Prefontaine said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. I’m going to work so that its a pure guts race at the end.”
Currently, I am in training for my next full marathon in Honolulu, Oahu on December 9th. My goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon of 2020, to do so I will need a time of 3:10:00.
RC: In terms of beautiful scenery, which race/track is your favorite?
BK: The Great Wall of China Marathon. Running on a wall with such history was amazing. The views and steep elevations from the Wall literally and figuratively took my breath away! Just getting to the top of parts of the Wall only to see how far it reached off into the distance was beautiful. It was one of the of the hardest races I’ve run – it was very mentally draining to keep ascending and descending the Wall’s terrain.
RC: Can you share the top three little things you do to prevent injuries?
BK: 1) Stretching is very important. Making sure to stretch my legs and back is crucial for me to be able to keep going day in and day out. 2) Hydration is also very important. I drink at least 120oz of water a day. Drinking this much daily helps me from overheating, cramping and of course dehydration. 3) Listen to your body. I don’t have a running plan like most runners will. I listen to my body when I wake up and when I start running. If I don’t feel good then I will do a short low impact, low-intensity run. If I feel good then I’ll start slow and work up to a pace that I feel comfortable running for mileage yet to be determined. If I feel great, then I’m off to the races!
RC: Do you incorporate any type of cross-training into your fitness regime?
BK: I work out 5 times a week and try to find at least an hour a day of long stretching and/or yoga.
RC: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
BK: I stay motivated by the music and motivational speakers that I listen to daily. Even when I don’t run I listen to Les Brown, Eric Thomas (The Hip Hop Preacher), Jay Shetty, Inky Johnson…
RC: What’s your favorite food before and after a run?
BK: Pasta the night before a run. Sometimes I will go to Fleetwood’s restaurant, where my running buddy Jolene Giles works, and I’ll have their seafood pasta. On the morning of a race, I eat two bananas with almond butter, honey, and a can of coconut water. After a race, I eat whatever I’m in the mood for! On a normal day of running, I don’t really eat before a run. I usually like to push myself to the limits that my body will endure and then afterward I usually make a protein shake and a light meal with some sort of protein (chicken or fish).
RC: For those who are interested in learning more about becoming a runner, what source of the information would you point them to first?
BK: I don’t like to push people into running too hard or too quickly. I have found that this could have a negative effect on a new runner. So I just give them a little advice on how I started off slow. Not doing a lot of miles right out of the gate. I’ll even offer to take them on runs and help them set a pace that’s conducive to their running ability. If they enjoy what they are doing then we can get more into the specifics of running and training at a later time.
RC: If fans or fellow runners would like to contact you or keep up with your career, where can they connect with you?
BK: I have an Instagram account (@bradleykukral) and a Facebook profile (Bradley Kukral in Lahaina, Hawai’i).