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  • Diabetic + Marathon + Paleo = I've got some questions.

    Hello,

    My name is Tony and I'm looking forward to running my first marathon this October (Chicago). I've been a type 1diabetic for 25 of my 35 years on this planet. While I've always tried to eat healthy and keep my blood glucose levels in check, I am sick of this disease trying to control me. I'm sick of people telling me I can't do something. I'm going to run it for myself and for cellmatesontherun.com, a Chicago group focused on finding a cure.

    About 8 weeks ago my fiance and I switched to a Paleo diet via whole9's 30 day challenge and we started CrossFit at a local affiliate. I've never felt healthier, or had more consistent glucose levels while cutting insulin doses by 15%. I've started adding in the CFEndurance workouts, while doing a few little longer runs to finish my transition from a minimalist shoe to barefoot (shoes).

    My struggle and concerns is keeping my glucose level stable for 26.2 miles. Before the Paleo switch I would use energy gels to fuel my run. Are there any more paleo options for sustaining my glucose level like the gels do? Any of the honey type mixtures my body absorbs quickly and it doesn't do anything besides spike my glucose up then back down to a low state 15 minutes later.

    -Basically I'm just looking for some advice or something I could try nutritionally to keep me going.

    -I'm saving some money to get a heart rate monitor to see if I can find that magical point of sugar burning vs fat burning.

    -Fasting prior to endurance work isn't an option as of right now. The couple times I've tried it, I spent most of my time on the road chomping on dextrose tablets to keep my sugar level up. The spikes up and down left me feeling sick.

    -Any and all advice is greatly appreciate.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this post.
    -Tony

  • #2
    I don't have much to offer you for the other questions, but one where I *would* make a suggestion is to forget the HRM. So-called "zones" are iffy and variable across individuals even with the idealized age-based formula, and god knows what it would be when factoring in type I diabetes. Guessing the magical point would be pretty arbitrary and even if you could find it, I doubt you could hold it steady for 26 miles. And, if you want one anyway, get a cheapie one and stop saving your money - I got mine at a cut-rate sports supply shop for the equivalent of about 20 bucks.

    Other than that, everything I could say would be speculation... but I would suggest trawling the paleo-friendly physicians list on this site and seeing if you can find professional advice. I doubt you'll come up short for support. Meanwhile, let the speculation begin!

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Tony,

      Just wanted to wish you good luck training for your first Chicago Marathon! It's a great/fun race, unlike any other and you won't regret the experience.

      There are some more paleo-friendly gels, check out Honey Stinger. There are some chews too that I like by that same company. Definitely do NOT fast before a run, especially being your first marathon--NOTHING is more unpleasant than bonking (trust me). You won't need *that* many gels/gus, etc. so as long as your food sources stay high quality I really wouldn't worry so much. I would just go with the one that is friendliest on your stomach... which might hate you with 14+ mile runs and a new paleo diet. You might also consider Nuun tablets.

      Good luck with your training, and keep us posted!

      Jen

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the info on the HRMs.

        Jen - i tried the Honey Stinger gel for the first time on Monday. This was my first gel since switching to paleo and I wassurprised at how quickly I felt the sugar enter my system. I was out for just over an hour and took it 40 mins in. By the time I was home I would have needed another. My glucose was at 62. Im sure a lot of this will be trial and error, and I love getting suggestions from everyone. I'll definately keep updates on how things are working.

        Thanks!
        Tony

        Comment


        • #5
          As a T1.5 diabetic, I share your concerns. I've been doing Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run marathon program since January, and just started getting to the 10+ mile runs. I've got several 5k races under my belt, and never really worried about it. Some of the paleo goodies I turn to for my long runs are 50/50 coconut water/regular water, and some dried fruit (one morning I had a mini larabar 1/2 way through my run)
          As for gels, try a mix of coconut water and chia seeds.
          --Trish (Bork)
          TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
          http://pregnantdiabetic.blogspot.com
          FOOD PORN BLOG! http://theprimaljunkfoodie.blogspot.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Traevas View Post

            -Basically I'm just looking for some advice or something I could try nutritionally to keep me going.

            -I'm saving some money to get a heart rate monitor to see if I can find that magical point of sugar burning vs fat burning.
            Re: point number one - trial and error is going to be your friend. There are hundreds of gels, liquids, chews and more out there. My personal preference is products with protein (yes, they is often soy or whey, but for "events" it is very likely better than straight sugar type products). For example Hammer has Perpetuem chews and drink mix, Accelerade has drinks and gels and there is a company called Infinit that will custom blend drink mixes and you might want to try Mark's Primal Fuel while underway. Start reading labels and ingredients to see if you can narrow down what is working and not working with each "trial".

            Re: point number two - there is no magical point when your body stops burning fat and starts burning sugar. It is more of a continuum where the more you tax your body the more sugar it burns. Like Bananabonobo, I do not put too much stock in HR formulas; if you are using them always go with the low side of any range. In my experience, most people train too at too high of a HR (grey zone) for too long. Low HR is the key to training your body to burn fat as fuel, not destroy (actually build) mitochondria and more! Sprint (much like Mark suggests) rarely and just slow down your medium and long training.
            Kevin

            Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
            William James
            US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 1910)

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for all the input. Today I had a heavy CrossFit workout in the AM (The Filthy Fifty) and went out for a long run in the afternoon. Ended up running a 1/2 marathon. I kept my initial pace for the first 5 miles between 10:00-10:25 min/mi. Mile 5 and on I was at 8:45-9:10 min/mi. Finished with a 9:42 pace average.

              I took along 3 of the Power Bar Energy Gels, and a bag of the Honey Stinger Gel Snacks. Took the first PB Gel 40 minutes in, and again at 70 minutes and 95 minutes. The Honey Stinger Gel Snacks I took every mile from mile 3 on. Walking out the door my glucose was at 202, when I finished it was at 138.

              I had only planned on running 9 miles today, but I felt like I was getting stronger the longer the run went which aligns with my improved pace every mile after 5.

              I felt like I had a lot of snacks with me, and it's hard to imagine taking any more goodies (which I would need to do for longer runs). I'm going to try subbing out the water for gatorade on my next long run and see if I can cut down on some of the snacks.

              Thanks again,
              Tony
              Last edited by Traevas; 04-13-2012, 04:17 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Traevas View Post
                I'm going to try subbing out the water for gatorade on my next long run and see if I can cut down on some of the snacks.
                I would really encourage you to look at alternatives to Gatorade; stop in at a run, triathlon or bicycling shop and talk to them about alternatives to that product - there are many better options than Gatorade. IMHO fuel for your body, whether for day to day living or for special activities, should not come from gas stations...
                Kevin

                Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
                William James
                US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 1910)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I took along 3 of the Power Bar Energy Gels, and a bag of the Honey Stinger Gel Snacks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bikeirguy View Post
                    I would really encourage you to look at alternatives to Gatorade; stop in at a run, triathlon or bicycling shop and talk to them about alternatives to that product - there are many better options than Gatorade. IMHO fuel for your body, whether for day to day living or for special activities, should not come from gas stations...
                    like the coconut water/water mix I suggested :P
                    loaded with electrolytes & potassium, and none of the "-erade" garbage
                    --Trish (Bork)
                    TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
                    http://pregnantdiabetic.blogspot.com
                    FOOD PORN BLOG! http://theprimaljunkfoodie.blogspot.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      coconut water is a great suggestion. honey stinger as well.

                      not that solid food is extremely easy to stomach on the run, but seriously banana is one of the most palatable sugar sources i can think of, and has a nice balance of fructose and glucose. also it comes "prepackaged" in the peel.

                      for fun, compare the nutrition info on a standard gel and a package of 5 "easter peeps" sometime. very similar!
                      Check out my new webpage: The Carnivore Runner
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                      • #12
                        I like dates for long runs, and larabars too. Although my fave larabars suddenly taste like funk at about mile 5. Outside of the run they taste great. Something about running that makes everything taste funky.
                        --Trish (Bork)
                        TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
                        http://pregnantdiabetic.blogspot.com
                        FOOD PORN BLOG! http://theprimaljunkfoodie.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i don't run long distances, just jog to keep things interesting. So i never fuel for running b/c i'm only out for 4 miles.

                          But for long endurance bike rides (like 3.5 or 4 hrs), i think pemmican is the best fuel. I used to big hammer fuel fan but i have decided now that nuun is a lot better for me. It's not sweet and sticky. Plus, hammer uses too much soy. They are actually proud of it.

                          i did go thru a period where i used perpetuem but i think it's only good in cold weather & there's not too much of that in texas. I tried it once in warm (above 75 degrees F) temps and it pretty much made me gag.

                          interested if any runners use pemmican? Running is so much more of a full body workout, i can't imagine eating too much, especially lots of sugary stuff; seems like it would make you cramp up. Pemmican is like pure fat & protein, it doesn't hit your stomach like a big sugar bomb.

                          the worst fuel ever was some Clif bar drink mix. OMG! thought i was gonna hurl! Looked at the label (and this is before i gave up grains) - first ingredient is rice syrup. OMG. it was nasty. Completely vile at warm temps.

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                          • #14
                            Coconut Water is a no. The taste of it is just not palitable for me. I've tried it before, during and after workouts and the results are the same... Bleh.

                            Dates/Larabars are ok on their own. While endurance training (CrossFit or Running) they taste aweful.

                            HoneyStinger. The gel packs are ok taste wise, but at 29g of sugar it spikes me pretty high and then tappers off. Their energy gel gummies are a good option (except for overall size of the product) since I can portion those out and avoid major peaks and valleys with my sugar.

                            I've started taking a capsul from SaltStick that is basically an electrolyte pill. Those have been good so far at keeping my body hydrated.

                            I'm going to continue to experiment with my insulin doses and pre-run meal. Also goin to look into a non-flavored protien isolate to add to my water to see if that will help stabilize thing while taking any of the energy gels.

                            Thanks again for you suggestions and support.
                            -Tony

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