Exercise tips?

oh my goodness… i signed up for a 1/2 marathon yesterday! i’ve wanted to do this forever, so i am excited. it’s in october, and i have plenty of time to train, but it got me thinking about how i am going to handle my sugar while running long distances.
right now, i go to the gym or run 5-6 times per week, and normally i have a snack of 20-25 carbs and decrease my basal rate on my pump.
does anyone have any tips for things that they do to handle their blood sugar during exercise?

Congrats on the marathon, that’s awesome! I workout 5-6 times/week and I generally either suspend my pump or take it off (especially when I’m doing any sort of cardio). I always have a few Cliff shots (they have this little handle-ish thing that you can clip to your waistband). I’ve also found that caffeine seems to lower my blood sugar a little, so if I’m going to do a really intense workout, I avoid it until my workout’s done. Hope this helps!

Good for you for making the commitment to a 1/2 marathon! They are so much fun!

Here’s my quick list of tips:

  1. If I’m going to take Gatorade on my run, I dilute it (50% Gatorade, 50% water). Be sure to drink plenty of water too because I read somewhere that diabetics are more likely to become dehydrated
  2. Always carry something with you to treat a low - and lots of it! I’ve found that running in extreme heat and extreme cold makes my bloodsugars drop
  3. Figure out your symptoms of low bloodsugar while running - for me they are different from my usual low bloodsugar symptoms
  4. If you’re not sure what your bloodsugar is doing, check it. This is how I figured out that my low/high bloodsugar symptoms are different during a run
  5. More than likely, you will need to decrease your basal or suspend your pump for at least part of you long run.

I’m sure I’ve got other bits of info that I’ve learned over the years, so I’ll add them as I think of them.

Good luck with your training!


When I go out for runs or long bike rides I make sure my blood sugar is above 130 before I start. I’ll have a full cliff bar if I’m going out for a long ride/ run about 20 minutes before I start exercising to ensure the bs spike. I’ll then check my bs every half hour to 45 minutes, if it drops below 110 at any point I will have an energy gel (any company is fine) - so far it has worked pretty well for me.

Good luck
I did the Cleveland 1/2 marathon. I trained but I had a hard time with my sugars. My liver dumps sugars when I burn 1000 cal or more but not all the time so it is hard to get a pattern. It did that during the race. My sugars jumped to 440 at the 9th mile mark. I finished but it was more a a struggle then it should have been. I hope to get the continuous glucose monitor. I have the new pump for it but my insurance company doesn’t want to pay for it but I am appealing and hope to win my appeal.

Great Tips! I’m still constantly having to adjust my regular run routine, because I’m not used to working around the insulin. Oh the good ol’ days! I’ve had to start regularly checking BG levels thoughout the run, because my first low symptom is my legs giving way and I’m usually around 40. I usually have better warning signs than that when I’m not running. I haven’t figured out what makes the difference between getting a high sugar at the end or a low sugar. I seem to do a lot of bouncing.

Awesome decision Laura!
It’s a great feeling to finish a marathon whether it’s your first or fifth! I agree with Ed about at least being at 130 before you start. I know I drop pretty quickly. Wish I could give you more help, but in truth I’m glad you asked the question! Thanx and good luck!

Congrats Laura!

I’m training for my first century in August and it’s been an interesting learning experience… I definitely had some rollercoaster days in the beginning where my BG would plummet and stay low while I choked down dozens of glucose tabs by the side of the road, or alternately skyrocket for no good reason. I found this article about exercise physiology in people w/ type 1 and it really explained a lot about how aerobic vs. anaerobic efforts affect the glycemic response. Definitely a useful read. I’d recommend getting a heart rate monitor if you don’t already have one. Ditto on everything Stacie says below also.

I also drop the basal on my pump (usually for the rest of the day if I’m training hard) and eat a LOT of snacks. Everyone has their own thing that works for them, but I really like Gu. It’s sort of an acquired taste (I vaguely remember hating it the first time I tried it), but it’s a fast 20-25 carbs and it kicks in really quickly (most flavors have caffeine, I find it helps them work in a little faster). Now that it’s rescued me from a couple really bad bonks I think it’s delicious. Another cool thing is that you can send in your empty packets to get free Gu. Now if only they did that with test strips!

Hey, I just started a group - Athletic Diabetics. It will be a treasure trove of workout advice (as long as you all join!) :smiley:

Hey Andy,
Have you tried Accelerade? A guy at my local bike shop swears by it. I’ve only used it a couple times, but it’s got a fair amount of protein and it’s really easy to chug (unlike Ensure - haven’t been able to handle that stuff ever since those glucose tolerance tests as a kid…)

And ditto on the milk, dude. Chocolate milk especially is the BEST recovery drink, IMHO.

Yep, if I’ve run more than 10 miles I usually have a bottle of chocolate milk waiting in a cooler in my car! That has been my reward for long runs for at least 6 years now! For runs more than 15 miles, I’ll usually have a banana with the chocolate milk.

I’ve tried accelerade and other drinks and didn’t like the taste. I know Gatorade & Powerade don’t have any protein in them, but they’re the only ones I like while I’m running.

Taking your pump off while you do shorter runs is probably fine, but you should check with your Dr before you leave it off for longer runs (more than an hour), especially during the actual race. I used to take my pump off for runs but I had a really bad experience at my first 1/2 marathon and ended up in the emergency room because my bloodsugar got so high during the race. You can read about it hereif you want to see all of the mistakes I made.

Hello I am new to this site but all I can tell you about exercise and diabetes is that you have to eat enough of protein before you exercise because it takes longer to digest in your system rather than an ordinary snack that burns up faster in your system. We had an incident just last week with my daughter at summer camp and she went swimming and didn’t have enough protein in her diet and what happened was that she literally bottomed out within 2 hours and she was rushed to the emergency room. True enough she is newly diagnosed but we learned a valuable lesson with this so now we make sure she eat a high protein snack in the morning before any exercise. Hope this helps

I’ve ran two half-marathons last year, and I am forever glad I did. It was an amazing feeling! I wrote some on what I learned on my runs here, here, and here.

I’d say for me, when I exercise during the day makes a big difference in how I prepare for it and also what I’ll do during the run, even how much I’ll test.

Good luck and I know you’ll do fabulously!

I hope to improve my a1c. It was all over the place when I was training for my 1/2 marathon. I am back to running 3 to 4 miles a day. That is the only way I can lose weight. I still am having a hard time with setting my basal rate while I workout.

I ',m glad you asked that question . I’m new at being a diabetic myself . When I first started showing symtoms of diabetes (that I noticed) was a few days after I ran the Akron marathon ,last sept .I thought it was part of the recovery.

The day the doctor told me that I was a diabetic ;I left her office and ran 6mi. To me running is the freedom. If I couldn’t run ,I don’t know what I would do…

the hardest part of a marathon is mental . When you" hit the wall"and every fiber of your being wants to stop but when the mental has to take over and push you on.

Marathon is like diabetes ; when we want quit ,we need to push are selves to go on!

Remember : Winners train ;loser complain.

Any ways I look foreward to the challange of start over as a diabetic runner!

Good Luck