My First Half Marathon- Tips Please!

Hi Everyone! I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon on July 31st, I will run just the first half. I haven’t been running more than 4 miles at a time and I haven’t exercised for more than 1 hour at a time. I drop pretty dramatically 50-200 points so I usually let my sugar get over 150-180 before I start exercising. I would rather not do this everyday. How do you prepare for a workout? tablets right before?

How do you keep your sugar up throughout the half-marathon?

How often do you test during?

Any pump wearers unplug for it?

What identification do you use? I just have an alert necklace.

ANY tips would help!


Well, this is the right place for you to start learning about it. A lot my new friends in this group gave me all kinds of advice. My first half was a year ago June, and I ran my first full just two weeks ago. My advice would be to first start by getting a beginning half marathon training schedule that you can stick to. Then practice everything you can to simulate what your race will be like. For example, start working out if you can at the start time of the race so you can get used to the routine. I use a CGM however, after I got some questionable results during the marathon, I’m going to carry a smaller device on me as backup. On the long runs I try to eat something 45 minutes before the run so that my bloodsugars are on the way up to about 180 by the race start. The trick for me is to not let it get above 200 and not fall too rapidly 30 minutes into the run… anyway, just keep practicing and keep training hard, you’ll get it figured out before the race just out of necessity on your long training runs.
Good Luck! Be safe, test often, and let us know how it goes!

I just ran a 1/2 marathon, did ok but overdid the gatorade and finished around 160 after spending the rice around 120. I usually turn my basal rate down to about 50% and then cancel the temporary basal with a couple of miles to go, depending on what the CGM says. The CGM is very handy as if I see it trending down, I’ll just shut down the basal completely and/ or have some snacks. Most races will have gatorade every few miles and that usually is about right for me. The race I ran, there was a 7 mile and a 9 mile and thinking about it later I was about 9 minute miles so the gatorade from mile 7 probably didn’t hit until after I’d drank the 9 mile dose so I ran high. I didn’t test my BG at all, I had my meter along but just followed the CGM.

For training, I have an amphipod belt w/ modular bottles. I bring a couple of bottles. I use powdered gatorade b/c 1) it’s cheaper and 2) you can weigh it to make it stronger or weaker depending on your needs. For a “supported” race, I just brought a small bottle w/ 45g of carbs in case I ran into “turbulence” and then a couple of bags of Starburst jellybeans. I got these little bags @ hobby lobby that hold about 25G of carbs so I bring them too. I usually skip dinner the night before (cf. Jeff Galloway’s books on running…) and just eat a light breakfast w/ bolus to cover it normally. I had a cookie but forgot to eat it. I like to have maybe 15-20G of more complex carbohydrates before longer runs to make a cushion but I don’t find it’s always needed. I’m working on taking less carbs to exercise,partially b/c I think that it is not totally necessary? If I have 5-10G every 3-4 miles, that usually works out ok.

Here’s a pic of my belt that also has pockets, etc. attached.

Acidrock, so Galloway has you NOT eating the night before a race? What’s his reasoning? Sorry but that’s the most absurd thing I’ve heard of doing the night before a race, especially as diabetic. Can you post the reasons he gives? Thanks.

  1. nausea during long races 2) portapottie mayhem before hand 3) mental focus, basically not having the distraction of having pigged out, perhaps more than you usually do (and dealing with #1 and #2). There could be other reasons but it made sense to me. I ramp up the carbs for about a week before the race, adding in some extra carbs (which is perhaps easier having diabetes, since I’m counting them anyway) and eat a large lunch too. He also advocates a light breakfast.

I’ve done that for three half marathons now and didn’t have any problems. I have a CGM so my BG doesn’t go bonkers (except one time, b/c I saw a 100 on the CGM after breakfast 45 min prerace and had some OJ which, of course, spiked me a bit. I did a 33% CB about mile 2 and it calmed down a mile or two later…)

MrsAcidRock reads “Fitness Magazine” that had a suggested pre-week carb-loading example day in one issue that was slightly over 500G of carbs, and this for a 140 lb female runner.

Is this something you do before your regular long runs? Myself I wouldn’t be changing anything from my normal routine ecspecially the night before a race. I don’t go in for a big carb load either especially for a half. I believe cosistency is the key for success in running and racing. Have you tried eating a normal meal the night before? Thanks

Jackie, how many days do you plan to put in? The best way to figure out bs management is to practice it. While you don’t have to run the full distance in your training you should be able to run 8 - 9 miles on your longer run and figure out what works best for you.

How does the belt open - I didn’t see a clasp on the amphipod website. Also what do you use to keep the pump on?

It has very sturdy velcro on the ends of the belt. The belt itself is elastic so it fits snugly and doesn’t bounce but I haven’t had any problems with chafing with it at all. I just use the MM pump clip thingy to clip it to the belt, tucked into one of the pockets and coil the stray tubing into the pocket to keep it from sproinging all over the place.

I don’t do it before long runs but I also don’t usually run early in the morning. Weekend/ long runs are usually more like 10:00 so I can get going and get concentrated. I was totally suprised when I read the book but he has a fairly lengthy section about nutrition and eating and points out that you can do it so I figured “what the hell” and tried it and, while I have a nice breakfast (eggbeaters, toast…), I do that pretty early and know how long it takes that to peak so I am confident I have a load on but not anything distracting me at all and I like running that way. He seems to be a big fan of “power bars” which I’m not (too many carbs!) but I think it’s worked well for me and is worth considering. The race I ran a couple of weeks ago was fun despite the conditions and I felt really great. YMMV though!?

I found a schedule that has me running 4-5 days a week and crosstraining/ strength-training 1-2 days a week with one day off. My long runs are on the weekends and hopefully I will have someone with me on those runs. I plan on getting to at least 10 miles. Thanks!

Thanks Robert! I definitely will have to try working out at the same time, especially with dawn phenomonan and such.

Thanks for the tips! I will start looking into a belt soon!

Thanks - I don’t use a pump (yet) but I carry so much with me when I run (glucometer, salt, gels, key…) that my Nathans fanny pack seems like it will explode. It’s also tricky getting things out.
I may invest in something new.