Can Knowledge Of Running Biomechanics Rescue My Ironman Kona Dream?

Running Biomechanics

With progressive peripheral vascular disease, plus the underlying non-compliant (rigid, non-elastic) abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) stent graft, which also limits blood flow to my legs, my last Marathon, in Maine was a foot pain nightmare. Should I give up Ironman? F**k that. As The Martian said, “It’s time to science the shit out of this.” I love that movie, even bought it! Science fiction is the science of the future.


  1. Regular running induces severe claudication (pain and lockup) in my right calf.
  2. Claudication is followed by foot numbness. Eventually both feet go numb, unless I stop running. This is worse in cold weather, presumably due to blood being used to maintain core temperature – fortunately it’s warm in Kona.
  3. Running is helping the claudication, but not enough for an Ironman.
  4. IMPORTANT CLUE: There is no claudication or foot numbness on the bike or on an elliptical trainer. Why? NO IMPACT.
  5. Foot impact will create a pressure shock wave up my legs.
  6. Such an upstream pressure wave will counter the downstream (systolic and stored elastic aortic pressure feed) pressure wave, that drives blood into my feet.
  7. Furthermore, foot impact will create pressure and shear stress, which will tend to close peripheral arterioles and capillary beds, further reducing blood flow through my feet.

SOLUTION: Zero impact running.


I’m working on it, with gradual success – 20 minutes at 20 minute pace on the treadmill right now, with zero claudication or foot numbness, but it’s much harder on the road.

OBSERVATION: This extreme shuffle running style is hard on feet and hip flexors, and requires extremely relaxed hips. No problem. Conditioning and learning, is all it needs.



Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.