Need to learn about diabetic tips for running a marathon? Running a marathon is a tremendous undertaking for anyone, but if you have diabetes, you need to take special precautions.
- Get permission from your doctor. The American Diabetes Association recommends getting evaluated by your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program. Because many people with diabetes also have heart conditions, it is important to make sure your are healthy enough to train for a marathon.
- Start slowly. This goes for anyone training for a marathon, but is especially important for diabetics running a marathon: don't overdo it. If you want to train for a marathon, you need to have a good base. This means right now, you should at least be running three to five days a week or 15 to 25 miles a week. You should have run an occasional 5K or 10K race, and you should have at least a year of consistent running experience. It is possible to train for a marathon with less of a base (especially if you participate in another sport), but most novice marathon programs assume that you are already in basic running shape and have had some racing experience.
- Plan. Paul Langworthy, manager of fitness and wellness at Scottsdale Community College (and a diabetic marathon runner ) says that marathoning takes even more planning if you have diabetes. He says, "exercise has a way of bringing down blood sugar, or it could elevate it if it's already high. Trying to find that balance is key."
- Learn how your body responds to running. Check your blood glucose before you run and after you run. If it’s too low, under 80 mg/dL, eat a piece of fruit, a few crackers or drink a glass of milk. Report changes to your doctor so she can re-evaluate your medication if necessary.
- Carry supplies. The American Diabetes Association recommends carrying your diabetic ID, your insulin supplies and a snack if you are going to be running for a long time. Some marathoners with diabetes check their insulin every 25 to 35 minutes, but this will vary depending on your personal needs.
- Get a partner. Training for a marathon is always easier if you have a friend or group to train with. Visit the USA Track and Field Association website to find a marathon training group near you. There are even diabetes-specific marathon groups.