Frosties is a third sugar and drinking orange juice is like drinking coca cola. Not suitable for diabetic tigers!

Frosties is a third sugar and drinking orange juice is like drinking coca cola. Not suitable for diabetic tigers!

Not all tigers were created equal. Some are diabetic. Some don’t like lazing around and like running long distances instead. So how does this tiger train for the breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest ever marathon in an animal costume?

Nutrition

For a diabetic some nutrition is easy, some difficult. First the easy bit – excessively sugary foods are banned. Period. Since becoming diabetic, I have not eaten a single Frostie or had a single glass of orange juice. Even if I took the appropriate insulin for the carbohydrate content, if I ate these foods my blood sugar would rocket far quicker than the insulin could take it down.

The bad news for all you healthy people out there is that Frosties and orange juice are really bad for everybody. So don’t eat them!

The harder bit is knowing what to eat before and during the marathon. I’ve had diabetes for 8 months now, and so my pancreas still makes insulin. Although the amount of insulin I produce is decreasing over time. Some describe the pancreas as a “stuttering carburetor” which switches on and off randomly and makes blood sugar control more difficult. Mine hasn’t been that bad, but my insulin sensitivity has been changing – both the amount of insulin I need to take with meals and the amount of carbs I need to eat whilst running.

When I did my ultra marathon, I knew exactly how much carbohydrate I needed to eat whilst running. Going into the Marathon this weekend I have very little idea. It means I’m going to have to test more regularly whilst I’m running – which will be a challenge at speed and whilst wearing a morph suit with no eye holes!

Running

Tigers are like humans. They more running they do the faster they get. I have been running about 50 to 60 miles a week when at peak training. Although I’ve lost two weeks to illness and two weeks to minor injury. I’ve hardly done any running for the past three weeks and all the running I have done has been on mountain paths with loads of ups and downs. So not very specific training but I am very fit for it!

Tiger running

Stretching

Seeing a physio before my ultra was the best decision I’ve made running-wise. I’ve been following his stretching regime religiously. I think it’s made a real difference to my strength and flexibility.

A world of pain!

A world of pain!

Stretching every day s really important

Stretching every day s really important

Meeting other tigers

The tiger community is really vibrant and I met a fellow tiger whilst skiing recently. He gave me some great tips about sliding down mountains but didn’t know much about running unfortunately.

I met another tiger whilst skiing! I asked him for tips for combining athletic activities with being a tiger.

Cross training

Spending time at altitude trudging up mountains is far from a tiger’s natural environment. But it’s fun and I’m still doing it in my first year with diabetes. I was lucky to spend the first two weeks of my three week “taper” in Chamonix. Skiing, climbing, and running. By the end of the holiday I was totally exhausted!! But I’m hoping that the tiger will be super fit for the marathon even if he’s a bit tired!

Good cross training for marathon training is carrying two pairs of skis up a steep couloir at 3000m altitude.

Good cross training for marathon training is carrying two pairs of skis up a steep couloir at 3000m altitude.

On the way up to the Col du Passon with the Aiguille Vert in the background

On the way up to the Col du Passon with the Aiguille Vert in the background

I have no idea if I can break the cow’s record of 2:51

I’ve had some very unconventional training. Am not as well prepared as I had hoped, but hopefully the crowd will spur me on and I’m going to give it my best shot. If you’re going to the London Marathon on Sunday, please keep an eye out for the diabetic tiger running as fast as his spindly little chicken legs will carry him. I’ll need as much cheering as you can muster!

5 comments

  1. LOVE this – I am a type 1 diabetic and London will be my first marathon….no idea what the blood sugars are going to do or what to eat either! GOOD LUCK! Love the first photo with the frosties lol x

    Like

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