Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Race nutrition

A few weeks ago I competed in the Kangaroo, Australia's premier long distance cross country ski race, and one of the world loppet series.
There were around a thousand entrants in the race over all classes.
I managed to be the 12th Australian home among those over 55, my best placing yet in my age cohort.
What did I have for breakfast before the race? A bowl of cornflakes and 2 cups of coffee. That is all. At the race itself I had a pre-race gel and some of the energy drink supplied by the race organisers. I would have been slower if I had started the race with a stomach full of rolled oats.

For those diabetics interested in maintaining their physical abilities as they age, I recommend Diabetics Athlete's Handbook by Sheri Colberg, although it has no specific information for those like me who also have Addison's disease. It has several sections on various matters relevant to older active diabetics, but doesn't go into the minutiae of what treatment strategies are associated with long term success in maintaining physical capabilities. Disappointingly, dosage recommendations are all in the form of a relative change in dose. There is no data on what absolute value of dosages are associated with long term success. Nonetheless I consider it essential reading.

Common sense says that if you want to be a healthy and active Type 1 diabetic when you are retired, you need to look at such people and follow a management plan which matches their's in diet, insulin dosage, and physical activity parameters. No randomised trial is going to measure such a long term outcome any time soon. Unfortunately, few medical researchers show any sign of appreciating the benefits of a case control approach.