Running With Type 2 Diabetes

ASK THE SPORTS DIETITIAN KATHERINE SHONE (APD) is a sports dietitian. Her passion in sports nutrition stems from a personal involvement in endurance events including Ironman, marathon and ultra-marathons. Katherine consults at Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre.


Q: I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. What – if any – adjustments do I need to make to my running?


A: Any type of exercise is great for controlling bloods sugar levels in those who have type two diabetes. It is important to be aware that running can increase or decrease your blood sugar levels depending on the duration and intensity of your runs.

Slow to moderate intensity running usually lowers blood sugars as the working muscles use up more glucose than when they are resting. Intense running, or running for extended amounts of time however, can actually increase blood sugar levels.

As a general rule, you should take your blood sugar levels before and after training, especially if you are new to running, so you can figure out how your body responds to various types of run sessions.  If your coach has set long runs on your program (eg longer than 60minutes), it is recommended you test your blood sugars during the run as well. For runners using insulin to control their diabetes, it may be necessary to discuss reducing your insulin dose to prevent hypos with your doctor or endocrinologist.

In order to get the best out of your running, I recommend you seek the assistance of a qualified sports dietitian who will consider your current mediation, body composition goals and training program, and provide you with meal and snack ideas to enhance performance whilst also managing your diabetes. For further information on a sports dietitian in your area log on to http://www.sportsdietitians.com.au

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