As people with diabetes, we’re pretty used to prepping for worst case scenario situations. Even a simple overnight trip has us packing backups to our backups. And sometimes back ups for those back ups! What I’m trying to say is, we’re professional SHTF preppers. That being said, you probably already do most of these T1D safety tips in regards to walking/running. But who knows, you might take away some new things!
Safety Gear for Walking or Running with T1D
- High Visibility Clothing/Gear: High viz gear isn’t just those boxy construction vests anymore (Thank God!). They are actually super cute and you likely already own some. Think of that neon pink zip up yoga hoodie in the back of your closet, or maybe that neon green sports tank in the laundry room. That’s all high viz! High visibility clothing is a good rule of thumb for anyone (diabetes or not) who is exercising on the road. And you don’t have to go overboard with it. I like to grab at least one of the following:
- Medical ID: Medical alert identification is always a good idea. I prefer silicone bracelets personally. RoadID has been my go-to for years! Just remember that EMT’s are trained to look for medical alert ID on the wrist and neck. So if yours in not in that spot it’s very possible that it wont be seen. That’s not to say you’re doomed if you don’t have one, or doomed if they can’t find it, it just makes their job easier if they can find it.
- CGM or Meter: I don’t know about you, but exercise can distort my ability to feel highs & lows. Especially if my sugar is trending fast. I feel more comfortable and confident when I have my CGM with me. It also helps to know exactly where your sugar is at so you can treat with the right amount of carbs.
- Low Snacks: Low snacks are always a good idea. If I’m more than 10 minutes away from my house, a low snack is coming with me. Look at your sugar before you head out. Be aware of your insulin on board (IOB). Think about how long you’ll be away for. And how strenuous your walk/run will be. Then pack your low snacks accordingly.
- Phone: Having your phone with you is smart for two very important reasons. #1 It’s likely your CGM. #2 It can be used to call home (or for help) if you need to be picked up.
Wondering how to carry all this gear with you on a run (or walk)? In a few weeks I’m sharing my favorite ways to carry T1D gear!
Tips for Walking or Running with T1D
- Timing is Everything: Diabetes is game of timing. If I had to choose between going for a run after I just gave a huge dose of insulin OR when I have a smooth & steady BG line and not a lot of IOB (insulin on board), I’m going to choose the latter. Of course planning a walk isn’t always necessary. I love a good impromptu walk. But there are a few things I consider.
- Meal Time: If a co-worker pops over during lunch and says “group walk in 10min!”, depending on what I’m eating for lunch, I might only give half my bolus. If I already gave my bolus (and maybe I gave a little more than normal) I might decrease my basal settings for 30min (if on a pump) or take an extra low snack with me.
- Trending Line: Looking at your trending line (if on a CGM) can help you predict how your sugars will act on your walk or run.
- IOB: Having a ton of IOB (insulin on board) can be a bit more risky if you’re heading out for a run. It’s not impossible, you just need to prepare. Maybe take a few extra low snacks and your PDM incase you need to temporarily suspend your basal.
- Recently Updated Ratios: Have you recently updated your ratios? If so, it might be good to check your CGM more frequently. Or if you’re not on a CGM, make sure you have enough test strips to test frequently. And it’s always a good idea to pack extra low snacks.
- Play with your pump settings: If you know running will drop you, try decreasing your basal for the duration of your run. This might work better for you than having to stop every 20minutes to load up on sugar. Same goes for walking. If your sugar has been on the low side all day and you know this walk will drop you, decrease your basal.
- Tell someone your leaving and when they can expect you back: People get panicky when a T1D goes out alone for run. Ease their nerves by telling them where you’re running and when they can expect you back. This might also help you feel at ease too.
Let’s Keep the Conversation Going…
What is something you do before heading out for a run or walk?
How do you hold all your low snacks?
Let me know in the comments!