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Running / exercise while on insulin advice!

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by KellyN, May 10, 2021.

  1. KellyN

    KellyN LADA · Newbie

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    Hi everyone,
    Before being diagnosed with slow onset type 1 I was running 3-5 times a week and working out 2-4 times. I fell ill and these last few months I’ve had to stop exercising completely apart from walking due to being unable to manage my levels. I now have a libre and I’ve been on insulin for 8 weeks now so I’m finally able to manage my bloods. I want to slowly get back into running but want advice on how other people manage this?
    Is there any times in the day you have found is better to run eg morning, after lunch etc?
    Do you eat a bigger, or carby meal 2-3 hours before wanting to run so you run slightly high before exercising?
    Very aware of the high risk of hypos and want to avoid as much as possible. I’ve done a bit of research myself and wanted to compare this to real life people’s experience!
    I’m on quick acting insulin.
    I know everyone is different and I’m going to work out what works for me and my bloods but just wanted some tips or advice!
    Thanks!
     
  2. EllieM

    EllieM Type 1 · Moderator
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    Maybe try exercising before a meal so as to minimise the short acting still in your system from the last meal. Also, consider reducing your short acting before you run. But honestly, you just have to carry sugar and a testing kit with you and see how you go, as everyone reacts slightly differently.

    Good luck
     
  3. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kelly, I also run 3 to 5 times a week and when diagnosed had to do a LOT of experimenting to get the balance right. As you say it's different for everyone and even when you have worked out your own pattern, the distance and type and how fast you run changes everything!

    Very basically, I find running in the mornings before lunchtime is best for me. I don't eat breakfast so run in a fasted state. My glucose levels are usually around 6 in the mornings and I now know that after running at a medium pace for around 30 minutes, they will drop to 5. The only time I would not run in the mornings is if my levels were nearer 4, I would then wait until they rose or take a 15g carb snack.

    I work shifts so sometimes I have to change to an afternoon or an evening run. Again if I'm around 6 I just get on with it but if I'm around 4 I take a small snack.

    If I run in the evening I always use less insulin for my evening meal (after the run) because I know that the run will lower my levels for the following 24 hours so compensate for that as I don't want to go low in the middle of the night. It really is trial and error but in answer to your question, I think the morning is better. It gives you the rest of the day to keep an eye on your levels whilst you are awake. I don't like the concept of carbing up hours before a run but of course if a person is running a marathon they may have to. Also, if I run hard for 40 minutes then my levels go up all on their own! A tip given to me at the start was that if you find you are dropping just before the end of your run, run FAST for a few minutes and it is likely to zoom upwards. It works for me! x
     
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  4. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Expert
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    Hi @KellyN

    I started running a few years ago because of my type 1, I needed an mental outlet and this is such a quick easy way to free head space and improve BG control. I was very nervous when I started so just went gently on the couch to 5km to get going and build my confidence up. I now run 3 times a week and distances vary between 5km and 15km, I have a different game plan for each outing and depending on the time of day I run. I always make sure whether it's morning or night that I don't run with any quick acting insulin on board, if it's morning I have to eat something low carb as I can get a liver dump on my run so will end up high at the end, I am more insulin resistant in the morning so less likely to go low and this is my preferred time of day to run, if it's the evening I can drop quickly so start with my levels above 9 and eat a protein bar beforehand. It's harder to run when my levels are above 12 as i'm sluggish but I will do as I know I will drop during the run. I always carry glucose tabs and when I run alone I use the beacon on Strava to report my location to my partner in case I do get in trouble, have never needed it but just in case. I have also tried the sprint whilst going low, not sure if it worked for me but the adrenaline release alerts the liver to dump glucose so it does work. Heat can also change things too and drop me quickly, so I try to avoid running in warm weather.

    It's vital to remember we are unique though so whatever works for me might be different to you.
     
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  5. In Response

    In Response Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately it is trial and error - some people find their blood sugars go up, some find their blood sugars go down. YOu need to find what works for you and the running you are doing.

    You need to consider what your body does when you exercise. There are two things
    - Your liver releases glucose to give you energy causing a blood sugar rise
    - Your muscles become more efficient at using insulin making your blood sugars fall
    And that is without considering what else causes blood sugars to rise and fall like time of the day (Dawn Phenomenon and/or Foot on the Floor).

    For an hour of intensive cardio exercise such as running or cycling. for me, the most important things are
    - avoid any insulin on board so no exercising within 4 hours after eating/bolusing
    - make sure my starting blood sugars are appropriate. For me this is around 6 or 7mmol/l. Any lower and I risk falling too low,. Any higher and I don't have the energy.
    - always carry hypo treatment with me
    - keep track of blood sugars AFTER exercise. I reduce my basal for 24 hours but this is not possible for all types of basal if they are too long lasting.

    I have also found adding some weak juice/squash to my water helps.
    I NEVER carb load before exercise. This has nothing to do with low carbing but due to my sluggishness if my blood sugars are too high.
     
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    #5 In Response, May 10, 2021 at 10:42 AM
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
  6. KellyN

    KellyN LADA · Newbie

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    Thank you everyone for your replies! I’m not sure why but I never got any notifications for your replies so I have only just seen them all!
    You’ve all been really helpful thank you! :)
    Still trial and error and I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon!
     
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