Running with diabetes – how I’m training for the Sheffield Half Marathon

It’s official – I’m running the Sheffield Half Marathon in April. And now I’ve committed it to writing, I have to do it, says our guest blogger Hannah Postles

I’ve joined a gym, bought a rather jazzy pair of leggings and today I’ve been on my first training run. It was only 20 minutes and just shy of three kilometres, but I suppose you’ve got to start somewhere…

Those who know me may remember I, somehow, ran a full marathon in Edinburgh in 2009. That was back when I had a fully functioning pancreas.  This time, while I may only be running half the distance, I will also have to manage my diabetes. That’s the part that terrifies me most.

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve avoided exercise.  Physical activity lowers blood sugar levels and idea of having a hypo while on a run, alone and miles away from home, is something that (understandably) frightens me.  I’ve always said I never want to let my diabetes stop me doing anything, but the reality is that it has when it comes to exercise.

A few years ago, I decided to face the fear and join a gym – but when, at my induction, the instructor asked whether the kind of diabetes I had was ‘hypo or hyper’ it knocked my confidence that anyone would know what to do if I keeled over on the treadmill.  Consequently, I spent hundreds of pounds on a gym membership I used no more than a handful of times.

The thing is, there’s no textbook that tells you how to exercise with type one diabetes as everyone’s body reacts differently.  If I’m going to do this, I need to learn more about mine.

I’ll have to pay close attention to my blood sugar levels, what I’m eating and how much insulin I’m taking to ensure that I have the energy I need to run, as well as do it safely.  I’ve been reading some great websites like www.runsweet.com for advice and tips, but ultimately I know it’s going to be a process of trial and error.  Things will go wrong and I can’t let that put me off.

While I am terrified, I’m also really looking forward to running again. When I was marathon training in 2009, I (eventually) grew to enjoy long runs.  I’ll blog about my progress (the successes and the inevitable failures) and would really appreciate any advice from any type one runners or athletes who have trained for similar events.

Today’s short run was the first step – and now the fun begins…

I’m running for the Sheffield Scanner – if anyone would like to sponsor me, I’d really appreciate it.  Visit my JustGiving page.

You can stay up to date with Hannah's blog here

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