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From Phoenix, Arizona, USA:

I am a 26 year old female, diagnosed with type 1 several years ago. I run 3-4 miles daily and would like to train for a marathon. Is this possible? If so, where do I start?


Running a marathon can be a real challenge for the individual with diabetes. If you are determined, there is no reason why you can't run a marathon. You do need to know how to balance energy output, energy input and insulin changes. My first suggestion would be to seek out a diabetes specialist for a medical check up before beginning intensive training.

An important training tool is a running diary. You may want to combine it with a blood glucose diary. The following information should be included in your diary:

  1. Date and Time.
  2. Blood glucose level at the start of exercise.
  3. Adjustment of short acting and long acting insulin. Keep in mind that your insulin requirements will change with a change in your training state.
  4. The distance and the time of your run and place where you ran.
  5. Rate of perceived exertion ( Was your run fairly light, hard, very hard, etc).
  6. Heart rate at rest and during your run (Record where and when).
  7. Your weight. (Remember insulin requirements change as weight is lost).
  8. Amount and type of extra carbohydrate taken before, during and after exercise (8 - 12 hours after exercise).
  9. Blood glucose levels during, shortly after, and 8-12 hour after your run.
  10. Episodes of hypoglycemia (when it happened: e.g., late in your run, symptoms e.g., dizziness, inability to finish your run, what was your blood glucose, how did you treat the hypoglycemia, what insulin was active at the time of the episode, what ideas you may have to prevent the hypoglycemia from happening again: i.e. carbohydrate snacks, drinks etc.)
  11. Long and short term goals: time and distance of your training runs and upcoming races. Keep in mind that insulin requirements may change as a function of the amount of exercise.

With proper training and management techniques, athletes with diabetes can experience the thrill of competing in marathons just as successfully as any other runner.


Original posting 1 May 1999
Posted to Exercise and Sports


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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