Int J Sports Med 2014; 35(08): 658-663
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1358478
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Temporal Response of Arterial Stiffness to Ultra-Marathon

J. F. Burr
1  Applied Human Sciences, UPEI, Charlottetown, Canada
A. A. Phillips
2  Experimental Medicine, UBC, Vancouver, Canada
T. C. Drury
3  Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
A. C. Ivey
2  Experimental Medicine, UBC, Vancouver, Canada
D. E. R. Warburton
3  Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 24 September 2013

Publication Date:
09 January 2014 (online)


The purpose of this investigation was to characterize the arterial stiffness of male ultra-marathon runners (n=9) using pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) and radial tonometry over the course of an ultra-marathon and during recovery. Measures were collected at rest, immediately following 45 km/75 km of running, then following 60 and 90 min of recovery. No statistical difference was found between baseline cfPWV and normative values. The cfPWV of ultra-endurance runners decreased at 45 km (3.4±1.6 m/s, p=0.006), followed by an increase (1.6±1.8 m/s, p=0.04) toward baseline levels at the 75 km mark. Radial tonometry measures also indicated small artery stiffness was transiently increased after 75 km. The amount of training time (r=0.82, p=0.007) and the duration of a typical training session (r=0.73, p=0.03) were correlated strongly with persisting decrements in large artery compliance at 60 min of recovery. The finding that arterial stiffness decreased at the 45 km distance and then reverted back toward baseline levels with prolonged running, may indicate a role of exercise duration or accumulated stress for affecting vascular compliance. At present, it is premature to suggest that athletes should alter training or racing practices to protect vascular health.