Distance Running Anyone?

Does anyone run distance (marathon or longer)?  I haven't run anything over 20 miles in about 2 years, but am planning on easing my way back into distance running this spring after I get over this nasty cold, with the plan being 50 milers by fall.  I would love to hear from other distance runners on methods, managing BG, managing training, etc.

I thought I would also toss in that I do all of my running (and most of my daily life) in Vibram FiveFingers - the benefits of barefoot without the dangers.  My current pair of Sprints has over 800 miles on them - think it's about time for a new pair...

I have never been much of a distance runner. I was planning on running in 5k later this month for a fundraiser but work got in the way. I would be interested in hearing what you do to avoid lows when running long distances. I have seen five fingers. They look a bit odd but I have heard that they are very comfortable.

I'll be running (not all of it, but as much as I can!) a half marthon - 13.1 miles - in May.  Does anyone else wear a pump, and if so, what the heck do you do with it when running that long of a distance?  Usually when I'm just doing a few miles, I disconnect and put it back on when I'm cooling down.  (I don't like it jostling around.)  But, this will take me a lot longer to do, and I don't want my body to have no insulin in it by the end...  suggestions?

Had to drop my vehicle off for some maintenance today so I took the opportunity run home from the shop. Got almost 3  miles in. Later I rode my bike back. Felt pretty good.

Nice - I'm trying to get back to 5+ miles per day, but right now I'm more in the 2 miles per day range most days with a rare 10+ mile run mixed in.  Would love to be back to 60-80 mile weeks one of these days - very hopefully that switching to a pump (start on Monday - yay!!!!) will make it easier to get back to distances that I enjoy more.

do you have a pump clip ? Sometimes when i run I just clip my pump on to my waist band but so it's on the inside .Or you could stick it in your sports bra this isnt aslways the smartest .

First let me say that I am totally intrigued by the five finger Vibrams. I may give them a try but it'll have to wait until next season.

I've been running long distance for the last two years (i'm running the Rotterdam marathon on Sun. April 11th).

It has been difficult getting the BS right and I still have mishap's. It's the issue that makes me most nervous before a long run.

I think that everyone is different  and you just need to try different thing to see what works for you. (you can look at my blog on ASweetLife.org I've written a bit about my experience )

Good Luck and keep it up.

I've gotten into running the last 4-5 months- not the distances you are talking about, more around the 10 mile range. Here are a couple things that have worked for me- but I do agree that it is really trial and error as all our bodies are different:

1) About 30-45 minutes before the run, I turn off my basal insulin (am on the pump). Also about an hour before I have a snack and give myself little to no insulin for it (depends on when i last ate, what my BS is, etc.).

2) I have found (through trial and error) that after about 5 miles, I need some refueling, so I usually carry a glucose liquid shot which is 15g of carbs. I take that and then continue on my run.

3) I got the CGM 2 months ago and it has made a world of difference in my running and diabetes management. I would highly suggest getting one if you plan to do these distances. I take it with me on runs and it helps prevent serious lows on runs.  

4) I just wear a small fanny pack to store that and the glucose- have found after the first couple of runs the fanny pack doesn't bother me. I do know that Spibelt recently came out with a fanny pack that is meant for insulin pumps- http://store.spibelt.com/product-p/7bl-a001-001-diabetic.htm. I don't have this one, but could be a great thing for those with non-wireless pumps.


Hope this helps. Again, a lot of this is just through trial and error and it could all be very different for your body.

This is what I have been looking for!

I am a type 1 runner and I have been looking for connections to other long distance runners, so I am pumped about this post and group.

I have run 4 marathons and I am running my first 50k next weekend.  I have a CGM but I do not have a pump.  I know, I know, but I have just never been comfortable with the restrictions of the pump.  The CGM, however, has changed my life.  Mostly in my non-running life, but also when I am on the run.

I feel like there is about a 15-20 min delay at times with registering actual blood sugar levels.  So, I don't rely on it to be a accurate predictor of where I am at in the moment of a run.  It does, however, indicate the trends, which are very helpful. 

For long distance runs, I like to eat a clif bar well in advance (hour and a half) and take 1 unit of humalog (about half my normal dose) or something with a little substance.  If I am on short notice, I eat half a clif bar (or the equivalent) with no insulin right before the run.  I find that I level out after a half hour.  I have used powergels as my preferred glucose supplement during runs in the past.  I find that it is better to hold on to the gel and try to stretch it out over 10 minutes or so, so there is not such a big spike.  I recently came across Clif Shots, and I had the best control I have ever had on a 20 mile run.  There are 6 or 7 blocks in a package and they are about 8 carbs a piece.  I suck on them for about 7-10 minutes apiece, take a short break, then pop the next one.  For the last 2 hours of my 3 hour run, my CGM indicated that I was between 107-109.  I didn't vary more than 2 mg/dl during a 2 hour section of a run!!!!!

Does anyone else have methods they use for long runs?  My A1Cs have come down significantly since I got my CGM, but I am still high.  I am totally open to suggestions.

Also, I am looking to connect with more runners and am new to the juvenation, so feel free to friend me (or whatever the process is) and connect cause I want to share stories and build the movement and community of long distance type 1s

Joe; I'm with you on the Clif Shots - although I'm doing the gel version.  I peaked at 180 and gradually came down to 112 (and stayed there) on a 6.5 mile trek the last time I tried it.  Beautiful, if you ask me!

I've been using the Snickers Marathon Nutrition bars (I guess I"m a sucker for packaging.  Oh!  It says Marathon!  I should eat this!) as my pre-run food.  I eat the bar at least an hour before I start my run, and I take no insulin for it.  I find, for me, that if I have IOB, I will drop dramatically and not be able to catch it in time before the Super Low symptoms hit.

Wow--this is a great help. I ran my first half marathon last year and wasn't on the CGM at the time, but was on the Omnipod pump. I literally had to check every 2 miles to ensure that I didn't go low. I had glucose tablets and mini luna bars for blood sugar boost. I ended the race a little high-about 220.I also tried a sprint triathlon, which I was a little low before and loaded up on carbs. A bit of a mistake, because after the swim I was quite high. After giving myself some insulin, my sugars were fine during the bike and run. I find the fanny pack helps to keep all your items in one place-food, pump, etc.

This year I signed up for another tri sprint and the marathon. I am extremely worried about monitoring by blood sugars during the marathon. Like some of you said, it is trial and error. I am now on the CGM-Dexcom, but it is giving me wacky readings that are a bit off (over 20% variance). I'm not sure if you've had problems or error messages with these devices, but I'm not sure I completely trust the readings. I have a few more questions regarding the races...

What do you all typically eat before a race so as to not peak too high before the start?

Are there any helpful links or research for marathon/triathlon training programs specifically for diabetics?


I actually don't eat before I run (unless the race or run start late like the rotterdam marathon that started at 11:00 am) and make sure not to eat or take any short acting insulin during the 2 hours before I run. I eat after I start to run. about 15 minutes into my run I have a halve snack which has 14 g of carb but has a lower GI than most bars because of the high fat content. 

when I did eat and take insulin before a big run I found myself going low (you can read my blog about it)

I'm not at all sure that i've got it figured out and I think it's a trial and error process each T1 runner has to go through.

Good luck

Thanks, Michael. I will take a look at your blog. Also, I was looking on the DESA (Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association) website and found some helpful information. The recent conference was in Chicago, but I was out of town. But, they posted their presentations online.

Here is the link: http://www.diabetes-exercise.org/

I don’t change my eating habits from a regular day more than an hour before a run (so if I would have eaten a meal, I’ll eat & if not, I don’t).  For shorter runs, under 5 miles, I don’t change anything from normal except to eat something low-carb (10-15g) with fat & protein about 30min before the run.  Over 5 miles, I will eat nothing before the run if I’m over 100, and if I’m under 100 I’ll eat enough to get me to 120ish – once again lower carb with protein & fat. 

During longer runs I’ll generally “snack” on something like Cliff Shots or Hammer Gel every 15 minutes or so to keep myself steady, and I always have something faster-acting like glucose tabs in case I am going low fast.  I also make sure to keep myself very well hydrated (anything over 15-20 miles I carry a CamelBak with water in the bladder and 2 24oz water bottles – one with water and one with Succeed)

This method seems to work well for me up to marathon distances, although runs are much smoother than races as the additional stress and other events of some race days can make things a little more whacky.  When I get longer than marathon distance, every run really is unique.  I use my marathon distance methods, but make sure to add protein and fat to my consumption, which seems to help keep me more level too.

I also wear a Dexcom and use an Animas pump.  I forgot to mention that I don’t wear my pump for runs under about 6 or 7 miles, and on longer runs I set my basal to -50% starting 2 hours before my run through 4 hours after my run.  Dexcom works wonderfully for me and has truly been a huge change and is letting me get back to my old running distances, which is fantastic.  The biggest issue that I have has been adhesive on the sensors, but now I’m using Mastisol, which seems to help...

Not up to a marathon or even a half yet, but have worked my way up doing 5Ks, an 8K, 10Ks, and most recently, a 10 mile.  Now that my knee is fully healed from surgery, I feel ready to go for greater distances.  I feel best when I have at least 15 g of carbs for every 5k that I've run.  During the 10 mile race I did recently, I was at 81 and dropping halfway through, and it made the end of the race miserable.  I'm still getting the hang of food/carb consumption while running, as I've managed to avoid it for most shorter races.  I sometimes feel like I need to hire a mule to carry all my supplies while I'm running.  

I agree with most of what everyone here has already said. I've run three marathons since being diagnosed with diabetes and I found that managing my blood sugar so that I could run well (vs. running to manage blood sugar) has been one of the biggest challenges to living with diabetes. I was a long distance runner before being diagnosed, and I did not want to give it up -- of course you don't have to, but it's harder.

I am working with the Young Leadership Committee at the NYC chapter of JDRF to potentially develop some additional features for Juvenation, and / or the JDRF site. We are thinking of adding forums and resources for specific things like long distance running. I eventually found a great nutritionist, met successful runners with type 1, and talked to running coaches, and was able to run my fastest marathon. The people and information is out there, but it's not in one place. If you would be interested in a more organized forum, specifically for long distance running, please email me with comments and thoughts (awharrington@gmail.com). Or if you'd like to see a forum for something else -- cycling, swimming, or more career oriented, like being a surgeon. Please let me know!

My running system is 15g of carbs before I head out the door, and half a gu (about 10g carbs) at 40 minutes and every 20 minutes thereafter. I aim to be above 100 when I start and around 140 when I finish. Your carb intake will depend on your weight, gender, distance you're running, speed, and metabolic rate. A nutritionist can help you figure this all out.

I run halfs and fulls and am looking on getting into Ultras too! Have you heard of Glucomotive or Insulindependence? Depending on where you live you might have a club in your area already of all Type 1s that you could join!! www.glucomotive.org  a great place to meet fellow T1s who run with diabetes!!

Have you tried changing your basal rates on race day depending on the distance? Race day vs training day basals will vary. Tons of info out there and lots of people doing crazy things with diabetes. Just have to find the group for you! For short runs less than 5miles I don't touch my basal. Anything longer than an hour I lower my basal two hours beforehand and have a 15-30g snack about 30mins in. For race day, the basal needs go UP at the starting line and then go down throughout the race... the whole adrenaline thing is always sneaky.

I ran my first marathon in October 2011. Trying to control my diabetes during training and the race was definitely an adventure, but I was successful. I finished the marathon in 4 hours 57 minutes. I was hoping for a bit faster but it was hot in Chicago that day. I've been T1 for 14 years and doing multiple injections the entire time. Training for the marathon is what finally has convinced me that a pump in the way to go. I have my next check up with my endo in February, and I'm going to start the process. There were times during training where my sugar was over 300 during a 16 miler but I couldn't keep insulin in my fanny pack because it would be too hot in there. I know that a pump will give me tighter control and help me to be able to race better and stronger.

As far as nutrition, I would always eat a ricecake with peanut butter about an hour before a run. During a long run or race, I would use Clif shots, a banana, gluten free pretzels, and/or Gatorade. I felt strong during the race and never really hit a "wall;" just felt tired and ready to be done.


I realize you posted this about eight years ago, but I am recently diagnosed (March 2018) and hoping to connect with other long distance runners. I have completed a 50 miler in the past (2-3 years ago?), and although I am not currently looking to train for that distance again, I do maintain a long run of 10-13 miles, and run/bike 5-6 days a week. I would love to ask you some questions about diabetes and running if you are willing.