Lowering Insulin Rates during Long Endurance Events

I still plan on posting the skiing post that’s been in my drafts folder for about four months now. Maybe I’ll try to finish it up this week . . . supposing I can drag myself away from my MATLAB diabetes app programming. In the meantime, I thought this blog post from Olympic Nordic skier (and BA-D-MoFo) presented an interesting idea about insulin management during endurance events.

I have been asked several times what my insulin dosing was for the 50k in Tahoe this Spring. For most races I run the same amount of insulin from the start to finish of a race but the 50k is a different beast. Because of the long duration of the event I completely deplete my glycogen stores. Thus I need less insulin in my blood as the race progresses. I started the race with a high (for me) basal rate 0f 0.8 units per hour in order to keep my topped off glycogen stores from raising my blood sugar. For the second hour of the race I had my OmniPod insulin pump programmed to lower my basal rate to 0.6 units. At two hours my Pod lowered the basal rate once more to 0.4 units which is the dose I finished on. Throughout the race I took 13 planned four ounce feeds. I started the race with a blood-sugar of 170 and finished at 140.

As always, your diabetes may will most definitely vary, and you shouldn’t ever just copy what someone else does. Nevertheless, it’s another thing to think about while trying to find what works.

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One Response to Lowering Insulin Rates during Long Endurance Events

  1. Celine says:

    I really do think this is the way to go. I used to use carbs as the way to control my blood sugar during races but I think have a race day basal profile is a much better idea. It would allow me, in theory anyway, to incorporate food into the race at times when I want it.

    I have run long races with high blood sugars and been unable to take in any food. That lead to a challenging race where I was starving but couldn’t eat. I’ve also run races where I needed to eat and drink a lot to keep the numbers up, making me feel pretty sick by the end.

    I’m going to test a basal profile on my tri this weekend that will, hopefully, keep my blood sugar in check AND let me have a gel before the swim and before the run. Fingers crossed.

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