When I tell other runners I have type 1 diabetes (or tell type 1’s that I run marathons) they often ask me how I manage my blood sugar when I run. What do you eat? Can you carb load?
The truth is that during the days leading up to the Tiberias marathon I spent a lot of time worrying about my blood sugar levels. I knew that in order to run a good race I needed to I increase my carbohydrate intake during the last few days before the race. I also knew that I needed to keep my blood sugar under control during this period.
The change in carb intake – going from my usual 50g-70g a day to around 120g and up to around 200g on the day before the marathon – did make it much more difficult for me to maintain normal levels. To most people, especially runners, these are still very small amounts of carb but to me, staying in control of my blood sugar meant frequent checking and bolusing.
This wasn’t the first time I’d faced the carb loading challenge, and I wasn’t surprised when my blood sugar was in the 200’s two hours after eating.
What I wasn’t ready for was how out of control my blood sugars would be after the marathon. After months of running five days a week, 50 – 60 miles a week, I suddenly stopped running to let my body rest. It’s been a whole week since the marathon and I’ve only been out once for a short 3 mile jog.
Without realizing it, running has become a very important component in my blood sugar management. Resting after a marathon is key to not getting injured. But not running has made it very difficult for me to control my blood sugar. So as nice as it’s been taking it easy waking up late (7:00 am), I can’t wait to get back to training. I’ve signed up for the Tel Aviv Half Marathon and am all ready to get started.