DWTS Winner J.R. Martinez will Run the New York City Marathon for Charity
No stranger to a challenge, United States Army veteran and Dancing with the Stars winner J.R. Martinez announced that he will enter the 2012 New York City Marathon--his first marathon ever--in order to raise money for New York Road Runners Youth Programs. The organization serve 100,000 city kids with a variety of health and fitness offerings. Just like Jennie Finch did last year, J.R. will start in last place and will receive a $1 donation from Timex for every person he passes. We caught up with J.R. recently to find out how his training is going, and how it compares to dancing.
How’s training treating you so far?
I’m up to 11 miles right now. I can’t complain it’s going well. I’m excited about the training. I’ve never run before. Running is absolutely outside of my comfort zone, but I know can do this. Life is about challenging yourself, and I always find new ways to challenge myself and do new things.
Do you have a goal in mind?
I’m not confident I’ll finish under four hours, but I’m also starting dead last. I might not touch Jennie Finch’s time, but she raised just under $31,000, so my goal is to raise $31,000. If I only pass 25,000 people, I’ll donate some of my own money, but if I can pass 35,000 people, even better. It’s not for me, it’s for the kids.
How are you approaching the race?
I’m using a beginner’s program. I’ve had to learn to change my gait and my running style so I don't do too much heel striking. I’ve been focusing on the right form and right shoe. I started running two miles, and have built up from there. Sunday is my distance day, so every Sunday I add a mile. This weekend will be 12 miles.
Have you discovered any must-have products for marathon training?
I travel, and it’s hard to know how far I ran, but my Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch, tracks my pace, heart rate, and how far I go. My trainer can tell me he wants me within a certain range and I know if I need to speed up or slow down. This tool is essentially my coach.
I wear finger socks. When I do distance running my toes usually rub against each other. These socks cover each individual toe, which is amazing. I run in Nike 3.0 shoes, which have a little bit of padding, but not too much padding, so they allow me to carry less weight. It’s a transitional shoe. There’s also this thing called the stick, which is a bar I use to massage my legs after a run. I travel with it and use it while I watch TV or before I go to bed.
Are you doing any kind of strength training to supplement your running?
My coach has me do some planks for my abs, squats to strengthen legs, and some pushups. I’m doing a little of that but it’s not too intense.
How does running compare with the physical demands of Dancing with the Stars?
I don’t want to downplay how difficult running is, but dancing is harder. For Dancing with the Stars I rehearsed literally eight to ten hours a day every day. Even when I ran 11 miles I did it in two hours, and then I had a day off. I never had a day off with dancing. So right now running is easier, but I know it will be more difficult as it the distance increases.
After this, do you have plans for any other physical challenges?
Honestly, I’m just focusing on the run, but I keep hearing that once you do a marathon you want to do more. Knowing me I’m gonna get the bug and will try to do another marathon or do something more intense.
You’ve obviously encountered some pretty formidable obstacles in your lifetime, what advice can you give people who are tackling their own fitness challenges?
There will be times for where you’ll be discouraged, but the biggest thing is not to quit. Believe in your plan and what you’re doing. Take it one step at a time. It’s almost like training for this marathon. I have to take it one mile at a time. I can’t do too much or I’m going to injure myself. Know your long-term goal, but take your short term goal one mile at a time.
You can keep up with JR’s training and offer him tips, words of encouragement, or songs to add to his running playlist by following the hashtag #runjrrun, or by visiting Timex’s Facebook page. He’ll also be trying to run with fans and local running clubs as he makes his way around the country, so keep tabs on J.R. via Twitter to find out where he's running next.
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