Even When Recovering From Aortic Surgery There Is Ironman Training You Can Do, It Just Doesn’t Look Like Ironman Training!

Love this picture, via Rob Hanou. Source unknown (anyone know).

Love this drawing, via Rob Hanou on Facebook, The Netherlands. Original source unknown; anyone know who drew this wonderful image?

Hi folks, welcome!

It's 2:00 am and here is a selfie of Willbe and I waiting for Scooter to 'do his business' in the pouring rain outside the truck. He woke us up, but then, dogs needs lots of love and they can be great training partners.

It’s 2:00 am and here is a selfie of Willbe and I waiting in the truck for Scooter to ‘do his business’ in the pouring rain outside. He woke us up, but then, dogs needs lots of love and they can be great training partners.

OK! Nine days out from aortic surgery, still pretty sore and woozy. Ironman training? Am I crazy? Nope! You just have to think. Here is what I came up with for the next few days. Race day will be here before you know it. Can’t waste time.

As I was walking our yellow lab on a local trail on a cold, frosty morning, I thought, “Which muscle groups give the biggest problems in Ironman, and how can I exercise them without risking my recent endovascular surgery incision sites?

High squat on walking small file

This is a pretty interesting exercise, and I am enjoying exploring my posture as my quads start to burn. Don’t I look like I’m having fun. Photo by passing dog owner.

Quads (ever see those guys walking the next day). For this one I converted a walk with the dog into a safe quad warm up, doing high squats each time Willbe stopped to sniff stuff (often). I’m not just doing a squat, however, I’m moving my butt around (yes, both butt cheeks work after my latest magic surgery) to find the least stressful angle of my hip joints – basically a squat posture exercise. You get a little burn, then the dog wants a different smell to enjoy, and on you go. Risk to your recently punctured iliac and brachial arteries is zero (in my opinion).

Arch support system (pulled calves pull people out of the race all the time). Your entire running and biking foundation starts with the arch support system, a key component of which are the calf muscles – see the size of those calves on cyclists? Every so often I would walk on the balls of my feet, exploring my relationship to the ground through my arches.

I call this arch walking, and it's not just walking on the balls of your feet, it's mentally exploring your entire arch support system.

I call this arch walking. It’s not just walking on the balls of your feet! You’re mentally exploring your entire arch support system.

If you overdo this, you’ll have pretty sore calves the next day, but the risk to your aorta is zero.

Lats (they provide the basic propulsion to your stroke). The use of cords is perfect. You should employ very light cords, find a position that does not strain your incision sites, and remember to keep your elbows high. Works on lats, rotator cuffs, and form, and zero risk to your aorta.

Better than nothing, my friends. Just takes a bit of imagination, swim cords, and a dog that likes to sniff. Every little bit you do now will pay off big time in races many months from now.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. You better not hurt yourself:)

  2. I can see that the quads and the arch support system exercises would definitely amuse any dog walkers.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.