- Associated Press - Friday, October 25, 2013

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (AP) - Jimmie Johnson tweeted on Thursday that he’d just finished a 20-mile run.

The five-time Sprint Cup champion and points leader heading into Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway says it’s just coincidence that 20 is also the car number of his closest competitor, Matt Kenseth.

“For the last couple of weeks I’ve been building up,” Johnson said, explaining the distance.

“Last week I ran 17, the week before it was 15. Twenty was the number my coach and I talked about it last week when we got to 17. As I got near the end of it, I think my coach said 20 for the 20,” he continued, chuckling. “That kind of planted the seed in my mind and helped me run strong at the end.”

The running is different than other fitness regimens Johnson has pursued, and so are some of the benefits, he said.

“Sure there are physical benefits, but there is something in my mind where I feel accomplished, I feel I did all that I could that day to do my job and to be an athlete,” he said. “I sleep well. I don’t sit up wondering about different things because I’m exhausted. It just generally feels good to get this work done and to have that behind me in the course of the day. There is a strong mental aspect to it.”

Kenseth won his lone championship in 2003, but isn’t likely to follow Johnson’s fitness lead.

“I’m not weird enough to do a 20-mile run either,” he deadpanned Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “It would take me a week to run 20 miles. Even if somebody was chasing me.”