Half Marathon

I was wondering if anyone out there has trained for an event like a half marathon and could give me some pointers for controlling my blood sugars.

My running group meets for "carb loading" the night before the event....obviously I can't do that.  Any tips?

I am also concerned about going high or low during the 13 mile event. Any suggestions?

I just started training for it and it isn't until Sept. so I have plenty of time to figure things out. I know that there are many diabetics who participate in these types of events and since this is my first time, I wanted to get all the advise I could from them.

Wish me luck :)




I ran a half-marathon last fall, and I am training to run a second.

It seems to me that training for an event like a marathon or half-marathon means figuring things out as you go along. That's what it was like for me last summer when I was training. Even after 11 years of having type 1 diabetes, I'm still figuring things out, so training is just an extension of that.

Here's what I do:

On a normal (non-running) morning, I have a small bowl of cereal (22 g carb) and 1 unit of Humalog. When I am training for a half-marathon (running between 5-13 miles after breakfast) I only take half a unit and eat a much bigger breakfast (usually a bagel with cream cheese, a banana and cottage cheese or yogurt).

My blood sugar is usually crazy high (13-15 mmol/l; 234-270 mg/dl) before I run. I don't like being that high, but if I'm any lower than, say, 12 mmol/l (216 mg/dl), I'll go low rather quickly.

I have to stop and test several times during my run (obviously, the longer I run, the more times I test). When I ran the actual half-marathon, I tested every 20 minutes.

I carry Sun-Rype fruit bars and Skittles with me to raise my sugar. I know that Skittles probably aren't the best thing to eat, but they're fast-acting and don't melt in my pocket. There are lots of specialized sugar sources for runners, but I like Skittles because they're cheap and easier to dose (1 candy is about 1 gram of sugar). Plus, I don't really like them, so I'm not tempted to eat them when I'm not running.

When I ran the half-marathon last fall, I started with really high blood sugar (16 mmol/l; 288 mg/dl), which I think was partially caused by the stress/excitement of running the actual race. It took longer to drop than it would during my training runs, and I felt a little dragged out. But, I knew that if I took insulin to lower my sugar I'd have low blood sugar, so I carried on. Once my sugar came down, I felt fine and finished in my goal time.

I think that what works for one person may not work for others, but it can be hard to find information on this topic, so it's helpful for us to share with each other. Best of luck with your training!

Thanks so much for all of the info. I was sure that I wouldn't be able to find any real life advice/experience in any books or articles. I needed to get it from real people who have lived it.

Whenever I excercise streuously for an hour, I always have my blood sugars no lower than 180. It just isn't risk the possible lows if I start out lower than that.

I was thinking of wearing a glucose monitor for the event. The only thing is that the week trial I wore it for wasn't very accurate during my strenuous exercise. The alarm went off 4 times telling me I was over 234 but when I did a finger test, I was only at 180. It was pretty accurate the rest of the time, just not during my exercise.

I love hearing about Diabetics who just make adjustments, figure it out and then go for all the things in life that "normal" people get to do... like half marathons :)

Thanks again for the tips.



You're very welcome. I live in Canada, where CGMS isn't very popular/available, so I have no experience on what it's like to exercise with one on. If it were me, out of sheer curiosity, I'd keep wearing it during exercise to see if it eventually does work, or whether it continues to give you inaccurate read-outs. Whatever you do, though, don't change your routine on race day. If you always run with the CGMS on, wear it on race day, too.

There is an excellent blog written by a diabetic woman who is a distance runner. It's worth a look: <diabeticrunningmama.com>. Her experience at the Chicago Marathon will break your heart.

I am 15 years old and recently ran a half marathon in april. The most important thing for having good blood sugars when i run is not having too much insulin in my system. If i run within two hours after i eat i have to decrease my prerun bolus by about half. I usually am about 220 or higher when i start my run and i have to turn off my basal while i am running no matter how high i start out.

For the half marathon, i ate a 25 carb apple for breakfast with no insulin and started the run at 280, which makes it hard to run but was necessary. There were Gatorade stops every four miles so i drank about 10 carbs each stop. I tested three times and was around 160 each time. Near the end I ate 25 carbs of Sports Beans which turned out to be too much because i ended at 190 and went up from there the rest of the day.

Hope i have been helpful and good luck to you!

When you go on training runs, how do you carry emergency sugar?