Sock Doc Part 3: Strength Training, Rest and Recovery

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Dr. Steve Gangemi, aka the Sock Doc, joins the NATION again to continue our discussion on his training principles.  This podcast is devoted to part III and part IV:

III.  Strength Training – does it help distance runners and how much it enough

IV. Training = (working out + daily stress) / Rest & Recovery



Stuff we mentioned:


Closing Song: Blibb by VoWo

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  • Refreshing to hear someone talk about throwing rocks and carrying logs. I incorporate carrying rocks, logs, tree branch pullups/knee raises, box jumps on rock ledges, etc., into my trail runs for cross training. My wife used to laugh at me for carrying rocks and running in the mountains until we watched the first Rocky movie and saw Sly running with a brick in each hand. Ha!

  • I thought I would add my two cents in as it relates to “getting off the Coke” (diet cola (any kind), to be more specific).
    I have been a regular DC drinker for quite a few years (a six-pack a day, at least), and went cold turkey a couple of months ago, switching to water, tea, and other non-carbonated beverages. This was a result of a TRN podcast as well as a seminar I attended on fitness
    As I was listening on this morning’s drive to Sock-Doc 3, I thought to myself that I really hadn’t seen any change in running performance as a result. Though there may be other factors involved, it has also seemed to be harder to hydrate myself for my longer runs on just water (and electrolyte replacements). I drink plenty of water, at least a gallon per day, with clear urine as a testament to my hydration. Yet, I find myself thirstier than before on 12+ mile runs. I’m not ready to go back to Coke as the hydrator of my choice, as I don’t think the evidence firmly supports it as the prime factor in my hydration problems, but I thought I would share that I don’t really have any evidence to show it’s a negative factor. I can testify that I don’t find it as tasty (or “savory”, as you use so often of late) as I used to. In fact, I inadvertently picked up a carbonated water at Safeway this morning (one that I used to drink as often as DC), and it’s barely palatable to me now. So there has definitely been a change.
    On another note, and to echo Faith’s comments on triathlons, I can tell you they are tough. I can’t compare them to any ultras yet (I’m training for my first 50k now), I have done my share of marathons. And when I was in peak marathon form, I decidedto try an Olympic length Tri. And it kicked my ass! I finished, but it wasn’t pretty at all. I can hardly wait to do another one, though (maybe after my first ultra).
    Thanks for the podcasts, you guys are great!

  • I know that CrossFit and P90X or Insanity are completely different, but do the latter have the same kind of “negative” impact on endurance training that was discussed in the podcast? My wife is considering buying the Insanity DVD’s but all that I have been reading has shown that a lot of people will have problems with their joints (which I am assuming is from poor form as indicated by the Sock Doc) and wondering if TRN or the Sock Doc have any input.

  • Both my girlfriend (a physical therapist) and myself were actually rather disappointed in this podcast in respect to what it left out. Mainly, there were statements in there by Dr. G (whom I certainly otherwise respect) that were to the effect that “the more you run, the less time you have for strength training” as a response to the question posed about how much strength training should you do.

    This is borderline bad advise, if not outright poor judgement. The amount of strength training you do should be, at a MINIMUM, dictated by what your weaknesses and potential liabilities for injury from biomechanical issues are. Take Faith for instance: she’s struggled with IT band issues (as have I), which affect both shod and barefoot runners alike. This points to an imbalance, strength issue, and/or gait problem. But strength is probably a huge component of it, which it turned out to be in my case. So the more I ran, the MORE I needed to do strength work. Probably the same for Faith.

    You guys should not have let this issue slip; for a podcast about strength training, you completely missed the point that for some, strength training is critical for long term running performance and injury prevention; we’re not all biomechanically perfect enough to skip this.

    Please give Dr. G a chance to redeem himself with a second podcast on strength training, focusing on why it’s necessary for both performance and injury prevention, and then talk about what strengthening exercises are key for runner.

  • Ken, a few comments regarding your comment: First realize this is general information; one cannot be specific for every individual. You say “bad advice” is my statement that strength training is relative to the amount of endurance. I don’t agree with your position here. For starters, you’re associating the strength conditioning I discussed with injury rehabilitation. These are completely separate topics. The podcast had absolutely nothing to do with using strength training for injury rehab.

    Next I’ll point out that when there is a muscle imbalance, say an inhibition (a 4/5 or lower on a manual muscle test – as your girlfriend would know), then using “rehab strength exercises” will often do absolutely nothing to facilitate that muscle. If the exercise happens to get the muscle to fire, it rarely lasts. I discuss this all over SockDoc and it’s why I never, ever use isolated strength conditioning for injuries. If someone is injured then should they add strength as you say? Nope. Are the injured from not doing strength? Nope. They should most likely DECREASE their current training as they are most likely overtraining and also investigate other lifestyle factors that are associated with injuries – diet, stress, etc; it’s not from lack of strength conditioning. Once the reason for the injury is discovered and resolved then one can go about using strength for rehab – in a natural movement program, not isolating muscles like so many do with bands and weights. So you can use the “carry a stone up a hill” exercise as I mention for that as an example. But again, this was not an injury podcast.

    And finally in regards to strength I clearly discuss periodiziation and when to add in more, or less, strength. The more you run the more you need to do strength? Huh? I don’t think you’re going to see someone doing marathons or ultras add in more strength as their mileage increases. It also depends on what you’re training for and where you are in your periodization cycle; this was discussed. If that makes you a better runner then that’s great. If that’s someone who is injured – no way. You don’t train more, you train less.

    I always get a chuckle when people say that not everybody is “biochemically perfect” to not train strength to not get injured. I hear this all the time with stretching too. It has nothing to do with that. You don’t have to be “perfect” – you have to be healthy. Period.

    And there’s no reason to talk about strengthening exercises that are “key” for a runner. As humans we are all “runners” so the Crossfit & MovNat I discussed already took care of that part of it. I believe in total body training, plus focusing on specialization in a sport, not compartmentalizing. As a runner this is no reason to isolate muscles for strength. Calf raises – toe raises – hip isolation exercises = all junk, for reasons mentioned.

    So there’s no reason to redeem myself. Not even a bit.

  • Thank you for talking about training + stress (life, work, etc). With a physically demanding job I have to take that in to account for my training as to not over-train.
    I always need to listen, re-listen and listen again to get what I need to out of each podcast.
    Thanks again!

  • I’m four weeks removed from a Leadville 100 big buckle, and my body is still worked. The discussion of Mark Allen’s 50 weeks of recovery really resonated with me, as I’m definitely not recovered. It’s been tough to watch some runners who finished near or behind me already racing again, while I’m not there yet.

    I guess it’s ok to recover a little slower from these things.

    Apart from your general advice on being healthy, any specific advice for how to make a full and healthy recovery from serious racing trauma long term?

    I’m currently jogging three days a week (less than five miles – very easy), biking 30 minutes three days a week, and completely taking one day a week off.

    Kudos on another excellent podcast.

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