For the past sixteen weeks I have been training for my first triathlon, which takes place this coming weekend.

I've received a number of questions about how I have structured the training and how I maintain blood sugar throughout all of the sometimes 4+ hour sessions. So here it all is:

The Training Plan

I followed a simple schedule of six training days on and one day off each week with the following breakdown:

  • Monday - Rest Day
  • Tuesday - Cycling Short/Mid Length Ride
  • Wednesday - Mid Length Swim + Mid Length Run
  • Thursday - Cycling Mid Length Ride
  • Friday - Mid Length Swim + Mid Length Run
  • Saturday - Cycling Long Ride
  • Sunday - Long Swim + Long Run

This was spread out across weeks in a repeating three week increasing schedule, followed by a recovery week of lower distance and then finally a decrease in distance during the last three weeks (referred to as tapering). The final weeks of tapering allow for the body to prepare for the extra long race day effort.

To see a sample schedule of the above here's a link to the plan that I used.

Diabetes Considerations

For all of my workouts I wanted to be at the higher end of my usual range, so I shot for between 125 and 150 mg/dL, with being a little higher at the start ok, since I knew I would come down.

When I started the training program I had no idea what to expect. So I checked my blood sugar prior to each workout, then each hour and finally afterwards. This allowed me to experiment with the right amounts of food to eat prior/during each workout to maintain my desired range.

What I found was that, without changing my basal, I needed about 45g of carbs per hour for each workout, with an increase to 60g per hour when workouts were longer than two hours. These of course will vary person to person, so experiment on your own to find out the right amount for you.

My primary fuel was a banana before workouts, followed by gel during the workout. I personally prefer raspberry Hammer Gel, but if you're going to use gel try out a few different brands and flavors as different ones can upset your stomach (bad idea to try a new one on race day!).

Just a few days now before the race, so I'll report back next week on how this plan fared!