What to Eat Wednesday: Runner's Fuel

Learn the safe way for diabetics to mark National Running Day.Did you know that the first Wednesday in June has been designated as National Running Day? In order to celebrate its coinciding with our What to Eat Wednesday, I'm sharing some tips for how Type 1 Diabetics can safely fuel up for a run, courtesy of Runner's World. Hope it's helpful as you pound the pavement!

Running with Type 1 Diabetes requires careful consideration of your glucose levels. Many variables influence blood sugar fluctuations during activity; the two factors that can be most easily tweaked include insulin and diet. Athletes with Type 1 should talk to their endocrinologist or physician about their training regimen, performance goals, and their levels in order to see if their insulin regimen should be modified during training. In addition, Type 1 runnersshould be sure to regularly monitor blood glucose levels in order to understand their body's response to exercise and fueling.

 
As for fueling, most runners require 30-60 grams of carbohydrate every hour when running long. Carb supplements can certainly be useful when the opportunity to run sneaks up on you, your last meal was a while ago, and you need fuel to get through a long run. Any athlete with diabetes should plan ahead and have a gel, sports drink, or other form of fast-acting fuel (such as a honey packet) available in case they start to feel low during a workout. For any athlete out on the road for much longer than 60 minutes, this extra carb can help maintain blood glucose levels and delay fatigue. 
 
As far as fueling during the run, generally experts recommend a starting point of 15-30 grams of carbs every 30-60 minutes, but this is just a starting point. The key to safe training is to always make note of your blood sugar levels, how you felt, and your overall performance so you can tweak your intake for the next run!
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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