J.R. Martinez has a message for anyone who has seen him put his feet up in the front row of an airplane and immediately drawn conclusions: It's not what you think.
Martinez, the army veteran, actor and Dancing With The Stars champion has been traveling the country over the past year as a motivational speaker while also training for the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.
And to avoid foot swelling when he gets on the plane, sometimes Martinez has to go to extreme lengths.
"People may think that I'm just being cocky, but I'm like, 'No, I'm trying to keep the blood flowing in my legs because I'm running a marathon," Martinez jokes. "Maybe the Bloody Mary makes it seem cocky."
No matter what part of the country he's in, Martinez has been running five days a week to prepare for the marathon. Sundays are long runs, where heart rate is as important as distance (Martinez tries to stay in the 155 bpm-165 bpm range). After taking Mondays off, Martinez does intervals on Tuesdays -- a 10 minute warm-up followed by 10 90 second sprints where his heart rate is between 177 bpm and 183 bpm. Wednesdays are inclines and Thursdays are recovery jogs where Martinez aims to keep his heart rate below 165 bpm for 45 minutes. Friday is a similar idea -- a shorter run with the goal of staying below 165 bpm. And then Martinez will rest on Saturdays as he prepares for his long run on Sunday.
Martinez says his Timex GPS Run Trainer has been invaluable during his training. The watch tracks pace, distance and heart rate, which is especially helpful when Martinez is in an unfamiliar location.
"If I find myself in Seattle, Washington, I don’t know how far it is to run from this landmark to that landmark," Martinez told ThePostGame. "Instead of trying to pull it up on your iPhone and dropping the pin on the map and calculating and all that, I just launch the satellite on this bad boy, run, and then I'm like, 'Oh man, this is perfect. I just ran five miles.'"
The watch isn't Martinez's only companion on his runs. Whenever he can, Martinez says he tries to run with his two-and-a-half year old black lab, Romeo.
"He doesn’t know he’s training for a marathon," Martinez says of Romeo, "he just knows he gets to be outside and run around."
Martinez has more at stake this weekend than the average marathoner. For every runner Martinez passes on Sunday, Timex will donate $1 to the New York Road Runners' Youth Programs. Martinez may be at a training disadvantage -- while most people try to get up to 18 or 20 miles before the race, Martinez has topped out at around 16 -- but he’s not fazed.
If the past decade has taught Martinez anything, it's that a few extra miles won't hurt.
"I'm not taking it lightly, but I think I'll be alright," Martinez says. “I'll just stop for a minute, walk it off, rejuvenate myself, get some energy and guess what? Keep going again and pass hopefully 40 more people, 50 more people, 100 more people."