Any type-1 diabetic runners out there?!

Hi there,

I have not long started my running journey, having joined a local running club 4 weeks ago!  Still just doing the running/walking stage at the moment and I am currently feeling as if there will be no way I could ever run non-stop for any length of time image  I know it is early days but some days it feels easier than others, if that makes any sense?  We are progressing to a slightly longer jog tonight and I am feeling apprehensive about that because last week I felt I was going to pass out on the last run section!!!  Such a lightweight!

I have been an insulin dependent diabetic for 21 years and really want to get to grips with my blood-sugar level control and lose a bit of weight too.  I have been using pump therapy for a year now and wondered if there was any other pump wearers here who could provide a bit of inspiration or advice about managing continuous running whilst wearing a pump?  Also, how many times should I be out practicing what I have learnt at the club each week.  I aim to repeat it 2/3 times a week, is that about right?

Many thanks for reading and it would be good to hear from any other novices just starting your running journey or from any diabetic runners who have mastered the art of exercising without having a hypo every time!


Jo image


  • I'm not sure how well I'll be able to link this blog over but this athlete has a pump and does long course triathlon.  You may find her writings useful, she's written more than this one:

  • Not a type 1 or a pump wearer, but I am an insulin user who's run marathons and many other races. Please don't fret too much - the condition makes it a bit harder, but it takes a bit of planning and some hit and miss experimentation to discover what works for you. Personally, I always carry some carbs on any run, just in case, and have learned to start longer runs with quite high blood sugar readings. You're probably not at that stage yet. It's worth knowing that the body will often react to exercise as if it's a stress situation, so counter-intuitively, your blood sugars might go up a bit at first as any store of bs you have in your body is diverted to your bloodstream. I'm not sure how that might differ for a type 1. It might help you to know that I know of someone at my local parkrun who uses a pump and she seems to thrive. Good luck and keep it up.

  • I have been a type 1 diabetic for the last 6 years and running for the last year and a half and honestly it was one of the best things I could have done in terms of my blood glucose levels. I use a pen ( although would rather a pump if I could get one small enough ) so it may not apply as well but after starting running I was using almost 30% less insulin over all injections and found I was having less hypos with the increase in exercise. Since then I have gone on to have run numerous marathons and am currently in training for my 4th ultra run so don't let it hold you back.

    As peter said each person is different and it may take time and a lot of trial and error before you figure out what works best for you. I personally find that with a long slow run i never get low blood sugars and am more at risk on a tempo run or on a interval session. 

    Something you may not have considered is too high blood sugar levels. Thats something i discovered recently in a race where I crashed badly and almost completely stopped after losing control. When fueling myself I have had to figure out how much and how often i need a gel or food which pretty much meant ignoring conventional advice from others and the manufacturers packaging. I suggest if you do want to do anything longer then real food is many many times better that just gels and other high sugar items.

    Just stick with it and remember to enjoy what your doing and eventually it will feel like second nature to just run and not let anything hold you back from it. 


    ( bit of an essay and rushed but I hope it helps)

  • I'm T1 and have been for about 15 years. Bit of a novice to running though, only started running summer last year.

    You may find you need to reduce insulin a lot at first to avoid hypos. Running seemed to have a really dramatic effect on my blood sugars at first: from zero running I ended up reducing my insulin by 50% overall last year during training for a first 10k!

    Reducing insulin is enough to do 5k continuous running for me, beyond that I generally use sports drinks during a run otherwise I'll end up hypo.

    Have needed to increase insulin and can run longer before I need to use sports drinks now. Think this is probably due to better fitness.

    Not on a pump but you might find this useful:

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