If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a little bit “A-type”. I like things to be orderly, organized and predictable. Growing up, I remember wanting to learn as much as I could from as many people as I could in order to learn from their mistakes and hopefully avoid them myself. It took me a long time to figure out that learning from others and applying someone else’s strategies to my life wouldn’t work out 100% of the time. I had to learn the hard way that sometimes, the only way to figure out what the best thing for me would be to try it out for myself and see what happens.
This has led me to fail repeatedly* but each failure has helped me to figure out what works. Once I find something that works, I still continue experimenting to try to optimize and adapt to change. I once heard someone say that “My diabetes is different than your diabetes” and it really resonated with me because each of our bodies are a little different and may react differently, even though we have the same disease. I would even take this one step farther to say that “my diabetes today is different than my diabetes yesterday.” I know that as my body changes with age, stress, environment and a whole host of other factors, my diabetes may not act the same way forever and what has worked in the past, may not in the future.
With that in mind, I do hope that you may take something away from my strategies for working out with T1 but I would encourage you to (under your doctor’s supervision of course) conduct a few of your own self-experiments to identify what is truly best for you.
For example, when I first got my CGM, I would eat a waffle, honey stinger or poptart** right before I went running to prevent a low. My blood sugar would shoot sky high (to 300 or so) and then drop rapidly. In addition to that not being ideal, the rapid BG movement ment my CGM might be 100 points or more off what my meter was reading at any given time. There were times my CGM would be showing 200 and my BG would actually be 100. This can absolutely be dangerous if you’re out on the trail alone. I learned that my CGM is much more accurate when my BG is more stable and I also learned to trust how I feel and question that number if it feels off. This experiment was a failure!
I also tried running with only liquid carbs, such as tailwind, gatorade or other sports drinks. I had a huge hydration pack to accommodate this, which was heavy and made me feel slower than I already was. Think about carrying 12oz of fluid in a bottle vs 2 packs of gummies for the same number of carbs. One is definitely easier to take on a run than the other, especially if you’re going to need a large amount of carbs to fuel and don’t want to carry more liquid or mix it stronger where it tastes like you’re drinking sugar and not in a good way. Not to mention, taking sips of a mixed sports drink isn’t exactly a great way to know how many carbs you’re taking in on a run and that doesn’t mesh well with my “A-type” personality. It also is pretty frustrating on a hot day if you’re out for a long run and all you want is a sip of fluid but your blood sugar is too high to drink anything. Or on the flip side, when your stomach is sloshing because you drank too much but your blood sugar is starting to drop so you have to drink more. This experiment was also a failure!
I’ve tried many other things and won’t bore you with them all but without trying these things, I may never have found the strategy I use now. I’ll also continue to experiment because perhaps there is still a better way out there. Please let me know if you have already found it! 😉 The point is that self experimentation and failure are wonderful things if you can learn from the experience. Just try not to keep making the same mistakes repeatedly and don’t beat yourself up about it if and when you fail. You can always try again and try something different tomorrow.
*I consider this to be a good thing! Also if you check out my daily workout posts, you’ll see plenty of failure!
**I LOVE smores poptarts and before T1, I would eat them before every race. Ameilia Boone is one of my idols and I picked up this habit from listening to her on a podcast once.
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The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.