Diabetes Taperitis


Diabetes Taperitis is not an actual medical condition, but it describes quite well what I’ve been going through during the past few days.

The Tiberias marathon is three days away and as it approaches I feel myself getting more and more nervous. It’s been two and a half weeks since my last long run and I have been having doubts about my ability to run a marathon.

Saturday after I ran 10 miles at a comfortable pace I got into the elevator in our building and looked at myself in the mirror. All I could think was:  Are you out of your mind?  What makes you think you can actually run a marathon? The fact that it’s my sixth marathon and that I’ve done all the training needed, not just to complete a marathon but to actually improve my time, doesn’t seem to comfort me.

Today I went over my running plan for the marathon, a plan to run a much better marathon than my last. I sat with my running coach looking at a spread sheet with numbers – miles, paces and splits – and all I could think was: this isn’t mine.  How on earth will I do that?

Usually, at this point before a marathon I feel pains and aches in all kind of places. This time the only real pain I have is in my lower stomach/groin which I know is a real running injury, which I’ve been running on for the last month-and-a-half, so I’m actually not all that nervous about it.

These nervous feelings and pains are not unique to me and are called taperitis by some (since they seem to show up during the taper period before the marathon). After months of hard work and increased mileage the taper period allows you to rest and get your leg strength back. It also brings on half imaginary pains and aches and many doubts about how ready you are for the race.

My last taper periods were very much like this, pains in all kind of new places and doubts, many doubts. This time though, my doubts are very much diabetes related, what I’m most nervous about is my blood sugar control. I’m running with a pump for the first time and I don’t feel as prepared as I’d hoped to be.

I’m not entirely sure when I should take my energy gels so I get all the energy I need during the race without going high or low.  But my doubts are not all rational. On Saturday after my run I started to wonder if I wasn’t overdoing it lowering my basal rate to 30% maybe 35% is enough. I know better than to try anything new at this point but I’m incredibly nervous about it.

Last marathon I ran I felt like diabetes wasn’t a large part of it. This time it’s as if the only issue is diabetes.

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Scott K. Johnson
11 years ago

You can do it dude!  You’ve worked super hard, and you are ready!

Nathan Shackelford
11 years ago

Hi Mike, I think you are right, it’s nerves! I have found that fueling a diabetic body for a normal activity life is very different from fueling it for endurance sports. I have learned that I have to err on the side of more sugar than less, and my muscles seem to soak up the glucose happily, and I feel fueled. In fact, once I get past the first 2-3 hours of constant exercise, it’s almost impossible to go high. Last year I did a two-day bike ride… the first day I did it wrong, low insulin, low fuel, bonk…… Read more »

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