Running with Type 1 Diabetes and the Pump

Hi Everybody,

I am NEW to running...or better jogging..and I wear a pump. I'm not new to the pump, have worn one for 28 years...but I need some advise. Please give me any tips on how to keep my blood sugar somewhat normal. Yesterday morning I had a blood sugar of 119, ate a bananna, took a jog...(not too far..I'm only beginning here) suspended my pump. When I got back my blood sugar was 124 :o)... Later in the day it dropped to 38 (not the first time this has happened with a jog)...Maybe I need to back down my basal in the afternoon...I guess exercising increases insulin sensitvity? I am preparing for a 5k in August. This is through my company...It is called from the Couch to the Finish Line...great incentive. They pay for the entry fee, outfit, AND this is a great way to lose weight and feel better!! I will be 50 this year and been diabetic for 40 years this December. I AM going to do this!!! Any suggestions and experiences are needed!!! Thanks!

I’ve noticed when I start exercising more than usual I have to decrease my basals overall, not just around the time I’m exercising. I’ll go to the gym one afternoon and the next day my sugar levels are really low. If you plan on getting a lot of exercise in regularly, you will definitely have to take a close look at your basals. I’ll be interested to hear what other people have to say because I’ve been struggling with this a little bit too.

Exercise definitely increases insulin sensitivity/decreases insulin resistance. Many people find they drop a few hours after exercise, especially intensive exercise, like running. Some people find they initially are high after intensive exercise, and then drop a few hours later. I find that I have to reduce my basals a half hour before, during and at least 2 hours after exercise - in my case, I do brisk walking, and I will drop like a rock if I don’t reduce the basals. In fact, I usually eat a snack before I walk, and leave about half of it uncovered to help from going low after. YDMV.


David (17 years old) just did the Ottawa 10K run at the end of May. I was sweating bricks since he signed up at the beginning of school term Feb 10 and this became a required part of his personal fitness class. As a parent I was worried about how he will deal with/work with the training and event.

I did put a half basal pattern into his pump that he could switch to for the run and for training, but he did not do either. He did take his pump off for the actual run, but was out there and finished the 10K in less than 60 minutes. He is used to removing his pump for 60 or more minutes at a time for intense physical activity. The really big thing to watch for and figure out are the BG drops post run. If you can figure out when they are likely to happen consistently, you can set a pattern for them, or add a temp basal, or at least be prepared and correct for them with some carbs. Be really careful overnights, until you know, or are sure, when the lows will kick in, so that you are safe. Post activity lows can occur 18 hours or more after an event.

I looked for tips from the diabetic athletics group on this site and they did provide a lot of helpful tips. Some wear their pump at all times. One individual referred to taking the pump off for runs as leaving one’s pancreas in the car. The fact is David regularly takes his pump off for intense physical activity and knows to carefully watch the next few hours after reconnecting. He also knows that a very high BG an hour post activity can very well be adrenaline and is careful not to jump on a correction unless his BG remains high two hours post activity.

The athletic group actually saved us forking out the hefty dollars to replace a dead continuous glucose transmitter. David’s $800 transmitter has been dead for the past year after having almost ZERO use, so spending the dollars again to get a replacement CGM system up and running is something I would only do, knowing that he wants it, or needs it, to get to the next level. What I learned from a running point of view from feedback is that it tends to run way too far behind. Gives great double arrow downs or ups, but 20 minutes behind won’t work for him or most. A marathon… no choice… the CGM would be the only way to go, but 10K, an hour of activity. He’ll be finished the race before getting the most significant feedback.


Thanks Cheryl…This really helps!