Kpanda’s running highs and lows


Hi KP.
I have mentioned this before, but it is a very important thing to know, so I am going to post it again!

As you begin running, your body has to go from a resting state to an active state. That first mile or two, your body will not be able to use as much fat metabolism for fuel, because it is not as quick. Fat metabolism is efficient for long slow efforts, but the ramp-up time is a bit longer.

So when starting, your body will pull the easiest fuel source it can get, which is always blood glucose!

Sometime a slow warmup will help reduce an early drop. As your body ramps up more slowly, it will not pull as much glucose from your blood and is able to use more fat metabolism.

The other thing you can do is just take a very small amount of initial carbs, right when you start.

Be careful on the starting carbs. After an hour of zero basal, if you take carbs and wait too long, you will spike!

So when I say to “take them right before you start”, what I am really saying is…

“take them RIGHT before you start!!!”

Not 10 or 15 minutes before!!!


So, what constitutes a warm-up, exactly?

Bearing in mind that I am not in tip-top shape or fast, like, at all. As an example of where I’m at, 3 miles yesterday at a 10:15 pace was hard work. I did get faster as I went along, so I guess that’s something, ha.

But anyway, is a warmup a brisk walk around the block with the dog first just to get moving? A slow jog for a couple minutes before ramping up to my regular also-kinda-slow jog pace?

I did start out pretty slow for the first little bit yesterday, but my legs were so tired even that felt like work, so I’m not sure that accomplished anything :slight_smile:

Carbs on the way out the door sounds easy :smile:


A warm-up can be anything with a lower heart rate.

Heart rate will be a better indicator than pace. If your normal HR is 150, then maybe warm-up at 120.

HR will vary with how hard it is for you at that particular time. For example, slow uphill running can increase your HR more than a faster pace on flat ground. Being tired, being dehydrated, not having a good night sleep, having crappy BG - all of those things can increase your HR relative to your pace.

I would suggest finding your average running HR, and doing an easy warm-up at 80-85%.

This is just good general running practice for anyone, D or non-D. Starting out at full speed is never really the preferred method. Even if you are in a race, you would warm-up a bit before.


That was a lovely picture!!!


So, went out for a 5 mile run after work today. My last bolus was at noon, and I ran at about 4:30. I turned my basal off about an hour and a half before I ran. This has to have been the least insulin I’ve had on board at the start of a run since I started experimenting. And yet, my BG started dropping a mile or so in, like clockwork. (Energy gel saved the day and I got my 5 miles in)

I will confess to not warming up first (sorry Eric).I pretty much went out the door and started running.

Anyway - I know we are all different, but is it weird that I still start dropping like a rock 4.5 hours after a bolus and after 1.5 hours with no basal? Does turning off basal 2 hours before the run instead of 1-1.5 hours sound like too long? Is some amount of dropping just to be expected no matter what? I’ll probably have a couple grams of carb on the way out the door next time and see what happens.

In other news, chocolate Huma gel = brownie batter and I think I’m in love :heart_eyes: :joy:


It depends. It could be fine, but it could also be too long. And if you leave basal off too long, you will become volatile, and then you will be fighting highs during your run. You have to find a good mix of low basal, low IOB, but not so much that you spike.

Which leads into the next question.

Does my previous explanation make sense to you, about what fuel your body will use? Blood sugar is instant fuel! That will almost always be your body’s first choice when you get started.

If you have a few carbs right when you start, that provides fuel while your body acclimates and moves from rest to motion. And then you start using muscle glycogen and fat metabolism for fuel also. So the early drop is normal, but that’s why you don’t see the same drop all throughout the 5 miles. Your body is starting to use other fuel sources.

Yes! Perfect!

Just keep in mind, if you have been on zero basal for 1.5 hours, the carbs will spike you if you take them too soon.

Don’t take the carbs, and then lolly-gag and tie your shoes and take too much time!

If you have been on zero for a while, hit those carbs and be ready to roll right away! Experiment with amounts and timing, and you can hit it just right.

I haven’t had that one. I have stuck to the fruit flavors - strawberry, apple, mango, lemonade, blueberry…

But I will give it a try next time I buy some.


Ok - carbs on the way out the door… I’ll plan on it!! Your explanation totally makes sense. My body needs fuel to get it into gear… the most readily available thing is blood sugar, right? So I’ll just give it a little extra to feast on as I get going.

Seriously, the chocolate gel tastes like brownie batter to me. Only try it if that doesn’t sound totally weird in the middle of a run. I wasn’t sure I’d like it but it was good!


Yes, you got it exactly!

I have some interesting stuff to share, along the same lines. But I don’t want to bore or confuse anyone. It has to do with how your body is fueling activity, and how the air you are exhaling can tell you the amount of what fuel you are using…

If it is of interest, I will post it.

I will definitely try it. I have already tried a bunch of them. They have some that have electrolytes, and even some that have caffeine, which is a little runner’s trick.

Brownie batter isn’t what I would normally want when I am thirsty, but what the heck, I’ll try it!

They have one called “Cafe Mocha” you may also like.


I know the body uses insulin to shuffle the blood sugar away into your cells for storage, or whatever. So during exercise, can the body use blood sugar in the absence of insulin?

Also, you are always welcome to share your voodoo running/blood sugar knowledge. Can’t promise it won’t confuse me, and can’t promise I’ll be able to put the knowledge to use, but I think you should go for it anyway. It’s interesting!

Also… I’m not a coffee drinker (major iced tea addict here), so the mocha gel wouldn’t appeal to me! Ick!


During exercise, there is a process called “contraction mediated pathway of glucose uptake”. This pathway allows glucose uptake to happen without much insulin.

Adenylate kinase converts adenosine diphosphate molecules into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP). The ATP is hydrolyzed for energy. The AMP attracts 5’-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK).

AMPK ultimately does the same result as insulin - causes GLUT4 to go to the cell surface and allow glucose uptake.

But all of that aside, it isn’t exactly the same as insulin. You can’t just eat a slice of pie and start walking. It has to be of sufficient intensity and duration for this to happen.

Depending on individual factors for each of us, it may happen at almost the same intensity where your body would be releasing cortisol from the exercise stress, which means your body might be releasing liver glycogen at the same time! So right when your body starts to be able to take in glucose without insulin, your liver might be spitting out a bunch of glycogen. Oh, crap! Thanks for nothing, liver!

So the answer is “yes” it can happen, but it takes a lot of work to get to that point. And you may not even realize it, depending on when your body starts signalling stress.

The best way to find it would be to hit a long and hard run, just below threshold pace. And you would need to get to that point and have no residual insulin in your body. It’s tough to get there!


Darn :slightly_frowning_face:

You use big words… I see “pie.” lol

Seriously though… so I’m dropping during exercise because my body is using blood sugar to fuel the exercise… but I think what I’m understanding is it (under normal circumstances) requires whatever little bit of insulin I have in me at that point to do it.


For the first part - “so I’m dropping during exercise because my body is using blood sugar to fuel the exercise…” - the answer is yes.

But I am not sure I understand what you are asking in the second part.

Are you asking if - under normal conditions - the drop you experience is because of insulin and not “contraction mediated pathway”?

If that is what you are asking, yes, absolutely. The contraction mediated pathway is not an instant glucose grab. It takes time and effort to get there.

If you are on zero basal (ZB) for 1.5 hours, you still have some insulin that is causing your drop early in your run.


YES! Muscles can increase their uptake of glucose via some receptors (can’t remember if it’s GLUT3 or 4) even without insulin. At least when exercising. That’s the key.


Ok folks, I may have lost my mind, but I’m considering signing up for a spring half marathon. It’s like 6 months away, but I’m contemplating signing up now before I can talk myself out of it (price goes up tomorrow, lol!)

I’ve never considered myself a “serious” runner, but I’ve done two halves in the past, both before T1D. I’m comfortable managing BG during and after runs of maybe 2-6 miles or so. I’ve done a kinda relaxed 10k and a 7.7 miler since T1D and am doing a 10k this weekend that I’ve been working hard toward. I don’t have the BG management during runs down to any kind of science, but I’m getting there.

Aside from kind-of dreading the longer training runs (I enjoy the races, not so much the prep :wink:) my only real fear is inviting more blood sugar variability into my life. I’m fortunate to, at the moment anyway, have pretty steady overnight numbers. I am honestly scared of what this might look like once I get into longer and harder training runs (overnight lows scare the heck outta me, and I’ve mostly avoided them so far). Part of me feels like I’m getting a handle on things pretty well right now, and do I really want to make things more complicated? I guess I could use some perspective on whether im making a mountain out of a molehill? Maybe you guys can calm my fears!! Help?!?

P.S. I renamed this thread… hope that’s ok? :blush:


Don’t have any suggestions just want to say that’s AWESOME @kpanda01!! I am positive that with some guidance from our local guru @Eric, you can figure out a great plan for BG management during the run training!

and I feel ya on the long training runs; I’m doing a 10-miler this weekend and carving out 1.5-hours to do the runs is quite a burden on the family. It really helps to do them in a scenic setting for me. The tempo runs are tolerable at a track but more than about 3 miles and I really need something pretty to look at.


Your thread, your name. No problem there. If it wasn’t ok, we wouldn’t allow you to do it.


Thanks @TiaG for the encouragement! I am SO with you on the scenery thing. I need something pretty to look at too! I pick races based on the same thing. If it’s in a boring part of town, I’m out!


Of course you should do this. The only thing you would regret is if you didn’t.

I think you will find that BG management becomes much easier when you do this.

You may have occasional challenges while you are running, but it is a trade-off. If you have one hour that is more complicated, but 23 hours where it is easy, that’s a good trade. Your body will be so much better able to handle food and insulin will work so much better.

You have plenty of time to get ready. In 6 months, you can do anything!

Let me know what you decide, and I can help you out with a lot of things for this. There are a lot of tricks and things you can do that will help, and plenty of time to work through everything.

Plenty of carbs right when you finish, and basal reductions at night after long runs!


@kpanda01, this is GREAT!

I can’t wait to read more about how your training goes.


Get it, @kpanda01. :two_hearts::two_hearts: