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Diabetic marathon


I am a type 1 diabetic training for a marathon. Crazy , yes. My problem is calf cramps. At 7 to 10 miles my calves cramp so bad I’m unable to run. I’ve been told salt tablets, stretches,pasta,more water,gatorade,more stretching, ice, heat etc. I’ve extended it to 10 miles before the cramps start and can now resume running after walking a mile or so. I’ve tried to find other diabetic marathoners but have contacted none. I think they all die after their first.

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  1. Dear Sirs; I am a type two diabetic and I too plan to run a twenty-six mile marathon. In February, 2003 I discovered that I was a diabetic. I was in a state of shock until now. I have learned more, talk to lots of people with diabetices, including my mother and father, plus my 83 year old uncle, who after fifty years as a type two diabetic, no longer has to take meditation for the disease. With that in mind and at age 57 I wanted to start training for the 2005 Los Angeles Marathon. Do you know of a diabetic running club that I can join. One that has my concerns in mind?

  2. Liz & Larry:I am a type 1 Diabetic & a sports physical therapist. I will be doing my first marathon in Vancouver Canada on May 4, 2003 (5 weeks to go!!)I am following a program which I modified from Hal Higdon’s 18 week beginners program which is available on the internet. My experience as a physical therapist and a diabetic may be of some help.1) calf cramps: biggest problem is usually training overload ie. progressing too quickly, not having an adequate running base before beginning the program or insuffient rest between long runs. In any case you might try for a 5-6 week period keeping your mileage below a symptomatic level and start an intensive calf stretching and strengthening program. Your local physical therapist might find some other biomechanical cause fore your calf cramping after a careful assessment.2)blood sugar levels are probably not written about much because there are such large individual differences.Here is my experience: I take a morning and evening dose of Humilin N (onset 2hrs, peeks 5hrs, finishes acting in about 12 hrs). I also give a sliding scale of fast acting humalog insulin (onset 5 minutes, finishes acting in 2.5 hours). I like the fast acting insulin because it allows me to be flexible with different training days.On Runs over 90 minutes I measure my blood sugar pre run If I am under 15.0 mg/dl(270 mmols/dl). I will eat a muffin or 1 cup pasta etc. before the run. (I find I have to tolerate quite high blood sugar at the start of a run because it almost always has fallen into the normal range by 60 minutes of running). Once running I usually have a Power Gel (or similar product) at the 60 minute mark of my run and an aditional one every subsequent 30-45 minutes.I seldom run after a large meal (Usually mid afternoon, night time after kids are in bed, or 1st thing in the morning.) During afternoon and evening runs I only have a basal level of my am NPH shot acting which seems to work. I tried morning runs with no am shot but found I got Ketoacidotic. Now I have a slow release small breakfast (oatmeal or a high fibre muffin) and about 3 units of NPH insulin with no fast acting insulin. I use the powergel protocol that I described above.A few priciples that I find are helpful:long runs can raise your metabolism for 18-24 hours. This tends to be more pronounced when I am starting a new kind of exercise. Therefore reductions in insulin by 15-25% are sometimes required to avoid hypoglycemia in this period. I find that I test my blood sugar about 6 times per day.Hyperglycemia causes marked dehydration in all the bodies cells so drink lots of water, not just during your run but throughout the day.The fitter you get the more in touch with your diabetes that you become. I find that I have greater swings in blood sugar but my HbA1C tests are better and I have a much better understanding of how my body reacts to insulin and different kinds of food.Hope my own experience is helpful as some guillines that you might discuss with your physician. I have experimented and had many high and low bloodsugar days before I found something that works for me (I am doing 18 miles this saturday and 20 miles the next, so it can be done)Good luck, Scott