The Sock Doc – Aerobic vs Anaerobic Training

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Hosted by
Scott & Don

Dr. Steven Gangemi, aka the Sock Doc, joins the TRN podcast crew to discuss the training benefits of heavy breathing. Aerobic vs Anaerobic Training is a hot topic in the endurance community. How much, when, and why are questions we present to the doc. What follows is a great conversation and in the end we all learn a ton. Even Dr. Gangemi, who learns that the podcast crew has a lot to learn!

Click here to visit Dr. Gangemi’s website

You can find us on iTunes or listen by using the player below.

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  • Great podcast! The more I learn about metabolization of fat the more I think these guys are on the right track. If you get a chance check out the waroninsulin web site that guy is doing some very interesting stuff. Thanks

  • I dig the podcast, but this guest spent the whole interview talking in circles. He was completely unable to complete a thought meaningfully. I should eat a ridiculous amount of fat and never run hard. Got it. I’m afraid it was not entertaining and no useful information was communicated. Better luck next time.

  • Sorry to hear you did not like the podcast. In this podcast we decided to make it a casual conversation and start discussing the Sock Doc Training Principles per my website. Since the foundation is aerobic, that’s why the discussion of dietary fat and aerobic runs were talked about in depth. I never once say “never run hard” – actually I say to do that after you have built an aerobic base and you can even trickle in sprints during aerobic training. I just listened to the podcast (again) and thought it was very clear; even discussing hill workouts and noting if you’re training for endurance then you’re looking at around 85% aerobic activity.

    A healthy, not ridiculous, amount of fat will support a superior aerobic system as well as a sharp brain and nervous system.

  • I’m definitely not an ultra-runner (yet) and I don’t even run trails that much. I’m just a regular runner, but man I love your podcast. The amount of stuff I’ve learned from Mark Cucuzzella and the Sock Doc alone from listening to your shows (and going to their websites) has completely changed my running.

    Dr. Gangemi’s philosophy on building your aerobic base first has already had a hugely positive impact on my training. I really do hope you guys have him back for more discussions!

  • You know how when you first started running and people threw terms at you like, tempo run, V02max, repeats, ect, and it was just way overwhelming??? that is how this podcast hit me.
    This is not a negative criticism! I just felt drown in everything I need to work on, change, ect.

    Okay, I am hypothyroid already before running, so what is ultra running doing to my already thyroid challenged body (I’m 30-40 lbs overweight) I stared running 4 years ago to lose weight, I have lost 20 lbs from that all time high.

    Is almond milk good for people?

    Why no soy milk? estrogen?

    Is Stevia okay?

    I’m 3 months soda free (but race day). The last 2 times on race day in which I tried to use soda at an aid station I had an allergic reaction to soda. Soda is OUT! Hint for getting off soda….. I drink herb teas. I started drinking iced herb teas when I wanted a soda. It has really helped.

    I’m wondering if this podcast overwhelmed me so much because being gluten free (sensitivities), now allergic to soda, my world of food is getting smaller and smaller, now grains may have to go for me to get this weight off? UGH!

    I will listen to this podcast again tomorrow night at work, maybe I can narrow down what has me so overwhelmed by this podcast.

    Thank you Mr SocDoc for coming on here and giving of your knowledge!!

  • Dustin – thanks and great to hear.

    Lisa – check out the dietary stuff I discuss on the SD site. Especially the Paleo-Type Diet. I think that’s the most ideal diet for most people, especially endurance athletes. It’s a great foundation and then you tailor it to your needs.
    Almond milk is okay; coconut is best. Correct on the soy – estrogen mimicing compounds in there. Stevia okay, but not ideal – still a “sugar”.

    That’s Dr. Sock Doc. “I didn’t go to 4 years of doctor school to be called mister”….(I’m just kidding and quoting Dr. Evil from Austin Powers:)

  • HeeHee Hee!! DR. Sock Doc!! it is.
    Very funny!

    Thank you for answers. (I think), do I want to go back to the days of not knowing??? That is the question.

  • Have to disagree with Don. I thought it was one of the best episodes for a long time. I like the fact that it’s casual and not too serious and I can’t wait for the nutrition episode (coming soon?).

    More of the “Soc Doc” please!

  • Just to have it said I usually listen to your podcasts 2 maybe 3 times each but this one… I’m on my 6th listen and am still trying to digest the Doc’s comments. Coming off of knee surgery last summer I was anxious to believe what my surgeon said, that I’d be back 100%. After tuning in to TRN (and viewing associated links) I’ve made many positive changes in my training (and diet, though I thought I had that figured out being a vegetarian for 35 years – near vegan for the past 12 years) and I feel like I’ve made some major advances after applying new knowledge gleaned from the interviews like the Doc’s.
    I now run barefoot once a week to hone my running form, I include core work which I never did before and I’ve adapted my running schedule to include proper rest days and high/low intensity weeks. I’m happy to report that yesterday I ran my first 20k mtn trail training run in 2,5 years and today I feel great! I’m shooting for 50k by the Fall.
    Tons to learn! Thanks Doc and thanks you guys.
    David, Norway

  • Chris, Laura, David – thanks very much for your comments.

    Laura – I’ve heard of your site, it’s great. Definitely not an easy task being a mom and a runner!

  • Just wanted to echo the praises of Dr. Gangemi’s podcast and website information. I’m a family doctor and an endurance athelete as well, attempting daily to encourage all my patients to exercise daily and live a healthy lifestyle and I feel that “modern medicine” has major problems when it comes to addressing the health needs of the endurance athelete. It’s refreshing to hear Dr. Gangemi’s advise and recommendations. His knowlege base is impressive and is obviously based on much experience in both his field of expertise and his own personal endurance history. I look forward to following his website and any future podcasts on TRN. His information will benefit any who listen and apply to his or her active lifestyle.

  • Thanks for the informative podcast! My question is about fueling during a run. You mentioned that you should be able to run 6 miles without any fuel. That is typically what I do for my mid-week morning runs. 6 miles, no water/food before I start and I am fine. But when I am running 10+, I have a hard time with my fuel plan. Before I start, I have a half bagel w/ peanut butter + coffee. At 4 miles, I take a Hammer gel w/ water. At 8 miles, another Hammer gel w/ water. Then around 12 miles, I feel like I need something else to get me to the end. I have never really liked sports drinks. I am not an ultra runner and my longest races are half marathons. What would you suggest I shoot for for fueling for a half marathon? Thank you so much Dr. Sock Doc!

    • Hi Holly – 6mi – well, I don’t think I say that, do I? I thought I said at least one hour. The amount and type of food you’re consuming is going to be dependent on the intensity and duration of your run. The more your aerobic system is developed and the more aerobic you are during the run (burning fats more than sugars) then the longer you can go w/o bonking. However typically after 3 hours you’re going to be more in the sugar mode no matter what unless you walking (crawling) – again it’s so hard to say because it’s per individual. So one thing you could consider is a breakfast with some more fat and protein rather than just a bagel…also if that doesn’t work and you’re keeping the same intensity then don’t space out the gels so far apart – you gotta prevent the bonk rather than deal with it if/when it comes. If a 1/2 marathon is going to take you 2 hours then you might look to do a gel around 45 mins and every 15-20 mins after that. Make it work for you.

      • Sorry! When you said an hour, I converted it to about 6 miles in my mind. I will work on my pre-training run meal this week before my 12 miler. Thanks for your reply!

  • Ugh, delete that post above, didn’t realize I wasn’t logged in.

    Another good one… but I’ve got a single question, in 42 parts. (Back to School anyone?) Actually it’s just 2 questions:

    1) What about cholesterol, Dr, you mentioned it briefly and in passing dismissed the concern, but are you saying that it doesn’t become a risk because of all the exercise? That the body process the stuff in the eggs and cream, etc differently so that it doesn’t build up if you are exercising a lot?

    2) This one is longer, but I hope you’ll respond …

    I’m glad to have some of my training plans reinforced. I currently do ~60 miles / week or about 8 hours, give or take. Usually included is a 2hour run in there and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t need fuel, and it wasn’t intentional, so I take that to mean from the ‘cast that I’m doing a lot of right things.

    What I’m confused about is listening to Sunny Blende’s podcasts was that I wanted to stay “in the sugars” where I’m burning sugar on a run, and I’ll start to bonk when my body makes the transition to burning fat. This worked for me in a marathon this spring where I ran a 3:19 and never “hit the wall”. I was popping a couple GU ever hour and it worked, I’ve always bonked before but never taken as much GU. And I ran this one harder, a minute off my PR.

    But unless I understand this wrong, Dr. Soc Doc is saying that I should start off burning fat and try to be conditioned to the point where I don’t have to burn sugar, correct? I also remember Sunny saying that wolfing down a bagel right before a run would cause a negative spiking affect. Which agrees with the good Dr. here.

    Either I don’t get it and I’m missing something (likely) or Sunny or Dr Soc Doc are saying the opposite (less likely but feasible, there are many approaches). Help!

    • Jason:

      1) Cholesterol? That’s all bullshit – don’t believe any of that high fat stuff you read out there. Read this instead:

      2) Yeah so I don’t agree with Sunny based off what you have here. I don’t want to stay “in the sugars” when I run or actually anytime during the day and neither should you. I want to be an efficient fat-burning machine. That’s how you develop health. That’s how you develop endurance.

      Sugar transition to fat burning? Huh? That’s really not how it works – that’s catabolic (breaking down of tissue) and also common in starvation. Your body is throwing in the towel because you’ve depleted your glucose and glycogen so you bonk – hit the wall as you say. “You’ve always bonked before” ? – that’s not good. You should be burning more fat than sugar as much as possible unless you’re running a very fast anaerobic race – say a 5K or even a 10K. But over an hour the more if your sugar being used as fuel more than fat the sooner your race is over – and I’m not talking about crossing the finish line.

      Now your training 2 hours w/o bonking so you’re doing something right – you just need to carry that over to the race.

      So I think you are confused because yes I am saying a lot of the opposite. Sorry 🙂

      • Thanks Doc. No apologies necessary! Love all the information and you’re very generous with your time and knowledge! Keep dropping it on us!

        With regard to Sunny … I’ve been meaning to get back and relisten to one of her podcasts I didn’t understand completely. I understand what you were saying and agree based on my personal experience. I’ve learned a lot in this last training cycle and learned that bonking wasn’t always a requirement. I thought it was just a fact of running a marathon, a farce I know now. Of course in the past it was happening around the 3 hour mark, which you do mention is a threshold. I think I realize now that I was running those races a lot more anaerobically than aerobically and that was a mistake.

        • Yes, that’s the way to look at it Jason. If you exhaust yourself on one race a year I don’t think that’s a big deal, we’ve all done it and it’s a good learning experience but unfortunately too many people do this all the time; and they die from it. Within the next 24 hours my article will be up regarding the latest victim unhealthy endurance training – the sad death of Caballo Blanco.

  • Sock Doc rocks! Loved the podcast and can’t wait for the next one – as was mentioned. Great stuff!

  • Nice Podcast.
    Could you share a link to the page on your site that mentions the “normal” symptoms people live with, but are signs they are stressed?

  • Soc Doc,

    One question that one of the hosts mentioned about his heart rate being naturally “higher”. Is this really the case that it can be that far off from the 180 rule? With due respect to him, when I hear this or see it on the web my first reaction is to question whether his or her aerobic system is as robust and well trained as it could be. Perhaps there are Kenyans that will have a HR in zone 2 that can vary somewhat but there seems to be a huge difference from running in a 130 zone vs 150. Can you be in zone 2 and have a large std deviation or 20 beats or so? But I am a layperson to all of this new information so I am curious to your answer.

  • Karl – thanks!

    Brian: More here:

    David: Yes what you’re saying is often true and I think the same thing when I hear someone say that. (For readers/listeners out there what he’s saying is that if someone is 40 years old so their 180-age zone is a 130-140 HR could it be possible that they are aerobic at say 150-160 or higher?). There are genetic “freaks” out there. Is Scott or Don one of them? haha (I forget which one made the comment.)

    Here’s the thing – and we can talk more about it next time. But just as diet/nutrition can affect your aerobic metabolism, so can nervous system stress. This could artificially elevate ones HR even though their perceived exertion is not changed. So it’s as though they feel the intensity is easy but their body is working harder than what it should be. In ALL these cases I recommend that lactate levels be taken either thru your own meter or at a lab (as mentioned in the podcast). Typically lactate anaerobic happens over 4.0mm/L of lactate – so if a lactate is in the 3.0 range at a 160 HR in this example, then the person is okay. But if lactate is way above that then, well – you know – they’re very anaerobic.

  • Thanks for the link, exactly what I was looking for.

    I started MAF training after reading the Maffetone book in January. From my understanding if the host of the show trained at his (180 minus age) MAF heart rate and was improving his times, then that is where he needs to train.

    When I started doing some bike rides with the HRM I found I could easily carry on a conversation at MAF +15 to +20. I slowed down and stuck to the MAF heart rate and made consistent progress over 3 months.

  • Sock Doc, I have a couple of questions and even a couple for the guys at TRN.
    1) I am a 100% plant based eater, (I have been for almost four months now). I love it but it is very polarizing hearing from people like you and Michael Arstein. He is a fruitarian and is extremely healthy but he also does most of his training like you suggest, aerobically. I generally train with fat, My favorite go to product for long training runs is Pocket Fuel, a blend of almond butter mixed with a few other things. But for hard races I love tuning to Tailwind Nutrition which is a powder based carb and electrolyte drink. Would you say that I am wrong and would you suggest otherwes?

    2) TRN guys, you listened to this podcast and you still say you are 100% behind Tailwind now and not Vitargo anymore why the switch and why have you not heeded Dr. Gangemi’s advice?

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