I need advice for fueling a workout

I was diagnosed about three months ago with type 2. Prior to that, I was training for a marathon. I stopped running for a while, and have just gotten back on the treadmill. I am having trouble stabilizing my level while I run.

I check my level before running, and normally it will drop 20 points or so after 3 miles. At this rate, I’ll never make it to the finish line without the aid of a stretcher! =)

What could you recommend for me to keep my level at a safe number? I know it’s trial and error, but I am looking for some things to try. Currently I keep some glucose tablets with me, and pop one when I feel weak, but I’m worried about stabilizing myself for the 15K I have coming up in March.

Do I need to eat more carbs before I run?
Do I need to drink a mix of sports drink and water while I run?

Please tell me what works for you so I can get some ideas.

Thank you so much, I can’t tell you how relieved I am to find this group!!!


I’m T1 and I am not 100% sure about T2 and how your BG would respond to a race type of environment? I also haven’t run a full marathon although I did 2x 1/2s in 2 weeks last spring. I have run up to 10 miles recently although the weather has sucked lately and I’ve only had one longer run outside (8 miles) in the last few weeks. I have another half on the calendar in the spring and signed up to run Chicago in October.

Usually races have carbs all over the place w/ gatorade stations. Training, OTOH, is more challenging since I have to lug carbs with me. I also have a CGM to keep an eye on my BG. For wrokouts, I have an Amphipod belt that has up to 3x bottles, although I’ve discovered that my One Touch UltraMini BG meter clips securely into one of the bottle holders. I usually fill one with Gatorade and one with water. The powdered kind has a couple of advatages 1) it’s a lot cheaper and 2) if you have a scale, you can measure it very precisely. For longer runs, I’ll put 45G into a bottle so I know that each third (the Amphipod bottles are marked…) is 15G. Mixing is no problem with running!

Even ‘straight’ people, without diabetes need fuel during races and 20 points isn’t a huge drop and you could probably offset that with 10-15G of carbs and find that it would be level? I’ve also been experimenting with taking smaller doses of carbs more frequently to prevent spikes I’d seen after running. This seems promising but I don’t have a lot of data. I also bring Jelly Beans as they are portable and easy to fit into the pockets on the belt.

Checking your BG during a race is sort of inconvenient too but is probably a smart idea?

Hi, Barb,
I’m also type 1, so things are different for me.
I like all of the advice you got from acidrock23. Basically, find out what works during training, and have a plan for race day.
If you’re still concerned about going low, you might ask your endocrinologist or CDE about things you might do with your meds on long run days and/or race day. Many of us type 1s adjust our insulin dosage for runs.
Best wishes for success and fun in your training and racing!

Thanks for the advice. I ran 5 miles today, and had about a 20 point drop, but since I read your post, I wasn’t as concerned about it. This is exactly what I needed to hear! Your gatorade idea is definitely on my list to try!

Thanks again!

Adjusting my meds on race day is a great idea. I only have to take one pill which I do in the morning to lower my level, so I will talk to my doctor about the possible effects taking it at a different time on race day.


The other handy thing about the powder is you can make higher carb concentrations but you can also make lower? If your BG doesn’t go up too much, you still need hydration and a say 10 or 20G of carb concentration, not dissimilar to Propel or whatever the low-octane Gatorade product is (G2?) can also be handy to have on hand? If 5 miles drops you 20 points, 26.2 miles would be 120 although, of course, your mileage may vary? For races, or at least the ones I’ve run, they usually have water and gatorade on hand so you can choose.

I have been struggling with drops (for me more like 100-150 points depending on the workout) when exercising and I have been Type 1 for about a year and I am now on an insulin pump. My endo recommended that I read the “Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook” by Sheri Colberg. I thought the book really helped me think about strategies for managing my diabetes and exercise, although I have heard from other people that they did not find it as helpful as I did. You may want to check it out though - it leans towards issues for Type 1 but also discusses Type 2. I have been experimenting with eating different carbs before exercise and during exercise and I usually eat something high protein within an hour after exercise. I drink G2 during exercise for hydration, if in the gym I will water it down sometimes too, and now that I am doing long distance bike rides I’ve started using the Cliff gel blocks which are easy to carry and eat while you are on the move. I reduce my insulin too. I have heard from my drs and insulin pump trainer that it is always better to be high than low so although I want to be very controlled until I get a handle on the lows I would rather be on the safe side and check my bs often. On long rides, I always check my bs at least halfway through too. I hope some of this helps!

Thanks Leslie,

I will see if I can find that book. I am having trouble finding stuff that relates to Type 2 and exercise for some reason, but I have only “had” this for 3 months, so I may not be looking in the right places =)

I am trying to get more protein in my diet. The other day before I ran, I had a good protein snack, and my level didn’t drop as badly.

It seems like Type 1 or 2, you just have to do a lot of trial and error, huh!

Thanks again, I’ll try your Cliff gels and see how they work!


You know as a type 2 you only need to worry about dropping too low if you are on insulin or taking a Sulfonylurea. Your body naturally corrects when you go low, otherwise all the non-diabetics would be falling to the ground having hypoglycemic seizures. I still make some insulin and the most I’ve ever been able to lower my blood sugar during exercise is down into the 50s and even then my body had a strong counterergulation.

Dropping 20 mg/dl is really nothing to worry about. I would encourage you to look at “working through” drops in your blood sugar. You can read Sheri Colberg’s book, but understand it is written for diabetics using insulin and even more it is focused on carb adapted diabetics. You can certainly fuel your run with a steady consumption of glucose, but that is not necessarily the only way to approach things.

Well, she mentioned that she takes one pill. She can go low, and whether it kills you or not, having a low blood sugar while trying to run can make what should be a wonderful experience awful.
Even non-diabetics fuel their long runs with a more or less steady consumption of some kind of carbohydrates. It just makes sense.

I’d say too that I would be totally clueless about what the effect of tossing down 6 oz of gatorade might be with pills (I’m a horribly sloppy drinker @ races too, another reaon to lug my own carbs along…).

I have an insulin pump so if I run up for some reason, I can fix it but running low running sucks and most of the reports seem to suggest that a marathon is quite a bit more strenuous than more casual races? Sheesh, I’ve seen people puking at the last two 5K turkey trots and the last 1/2 marathon I did at about 11 miles there was a dude passed out in a hosta bed on one side of the road and another guy pretty much out of it on a golf cart across the street. I have no idea if what the deal was but I see people all the time who are running into various issues so I’d do everything possible to make sure my bases were covered?

I forgot to mention that Sheri Colberg’s Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook is not specifically for type 1 diabetic athletes. It will tell you which examples are from type 1 and which are from type 2 diabetics.

I need to find this! a 70-point drop after 1 hr of working out today even though I ate 25+ g of carbs! Thanks for the tip about this!

Sheri Colbergs advice for type 2 diabetics is limited. Her advice is focused on insulin dependent and carb adapted diabetics and by her own admission she has not considered type 2 diabetics on low carb diets.

I didn’t realize that it could self correct. I haven’t let it get lower than 50 because it makes me shake terribly. I try to keep my level between 100-125, so when I drop 20 points it seems like a huge deal to me, so maybe I need to calm down a little, I’m sure that will come with time.

Thank you for the advice!


Use powerbar gels. They are rapid acting and easy to slurp down when running. My endo is an ultramarathoner (100 miles) and that’s what he uses. Plus the new gel formulation has a 2:1 glucose/fructose mix, so it’s easier to guess how you will react (faster than candy, slower than glucose tabs). Also if you’re dropping when running, try adding a whey protein shake and some fat like CLA before your longer runs. The protein and fat will help support the muscles and keep your BG at a more constant level.

The fact that you have a treadmill gives you a great opportunity to experiment in a safe and convenient way. All I can say is try things, preferably things that would be practical when you’re running a marathon. A typical experiment for me consists of putting glucose tablets in the cup holder of my treadmill, eating them as I walk, and testing my blood glucose every 15 minutes. I’ll do this several days in a row until I come up with a ‘recipe’ that keeps me where I want to be. I keep careful records so I can go over my notes and refine things as time goes by, and my workouts get more intense.

When you’re running around out in the world, always carry a meter and backup glucose tablets with you, in addition to whatever else you carry.

Do you see an endocrinologist? If so, they might be able to set you up with a loaner CGM for a few days. My doc did that for me and it allowed me to collect a bunch of data on what happens to me when I exercise.

You can only self-correct as long as you have glycogen reserves. These are often depleted after 2-3 hours of exercise – more quickly if you’re burning through the calories. Also, some Type 2 orals block the glycogen response, so your body will NOT compensate for a low. (Metformin is one such drug.)

When I was discussing both renfaires (walking a 70-acre campus all day in the hot sun wearing 20-30 lb of clothing) and religious fasting, shortly after my diagnosis, my doctor said that if my blood glucose ever got down to 50 I’d pass out, and that if it went down to 40 I’d die. (I was on a sulfonylurea at the time.) 100-125 is fine for exercise, but until you get fueling – both calories/carbs and electrolytes – down pat for longer-duration workouts, it may be safer to allow yourself to run a little higher than a little lower.

Peanut butter!