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January 8, 2005

Exercise and Sports, Insulin

Question from Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA:

In the past year, I have run three 50K trail races and two marathons and I would like to go for a 50 Mile race this year. I haven't had any problems in my previous races but, my wife is worried about the longer distance. For the 50Ks, I have been cutting my morning NPH in half (to three units) and not taking any Humalog at all (I normally take 14 units/day) until after the race and I eat about 50 g of carbohydrates/hour during the race. The longest 50K took me almost eight hours and I would expect a 50 miler to take about 11 hours. Is there anything I should be worried about, other than what other long distance runners are worried about? I would like to put my wife at ease.


Wow! Congratulations on your commitment to endurance exercise training and great diabetes management. Having already successfully completed a number of endurance events, and having successfully managed your diabetes throughout, your diabetes should not hinder your participation in longer distance events provided that you continue to apply the same training/management techniques and dedication to great control. Of course, the opinion/input of your personal physician should be an integral part of your consideration, as he/she knows your clinical condition best. Frequent blood glucose monitoring will be key, and you should be prepared to treat/prevent both hypo and hyperglycemia should either arise as an issue. As I am sure you are aware from your previous running history, lowered insulin requirements and an increased risk of hypoglycemia may be an issue for hours, even days after endurance event participation. If you have not yet connected with DESA (Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association), you will find the group to be a fantastic resource. Best of success to you in your endeavors! You are an inspiration to those of us living an active life with diabetes.