Working Towards A Goal with Diabetes: Training for the Olympics

Posted by kris on Thu, 01/16/2014 - 12:46 in

Kris-Freeman-Olympic-TrainingI am frequently asked what I do during the four years between the Olympics and when I actually start training for it. Most people seem shocked to hear that what I do each and every day is prepare the best I possibly can for the next Olympics. The preparation includes thousands of hours of running, biking, roller-skiing, glacier skiing, weight lifting and kayaking. It also requires that I race on the World Cup circuit so I can stay in touch with how I compare with the best in world. Competing with the best lets me know if my training has been hard and effective enough.

The World Cup is a series of races that starts every winter in November. Nearly every weekend there is a race in a different country until the series concludes in late March. However, calling the series the "World Cup" is actually misleading. It would be more appropriate for the series to be called the Scandinavian and Central European Cup since every race this season will be held on that continent.

My Training Schedule with Diabetes

Racing and traveling extensively presents special challenges to me as a person with diabetes. I never have the luxury of getting into a routine for more than a few days, so I am constantly recalculating how much insulin I will need based on my activity level, the local food, altitude and stress load. I require an insulin delivery system that allows me to change my basal dose quickly and precisely, and that I can deliver multiple boluses with, with the push of a few buttons. The following is a summary of my insulin dosing for a day on the road in Lillehammer, Norway:

  • Sleep 10 hours with basal rate 0.7 units.
  • 7:30 AM: Wake up and take 1-unit bolus for breakfast.
  • 7:50 AM: Eat high-protein breakfast, two eggs, cottage cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and two slices of ham.
  • 8:30 AM: Reduce basal rate to 0.1 units per hour in preparation for training.
  • 9:30 AM: Arrive at ski stadium for training, eat thick piece of whole-wheat bread with strawberry jam to provide carbs for intense intervals during two hours of training.
  • 11:30 AM: Raise basal insulin back to 0.7 units per hour. Take 1.5-unit bolus in preparation for lunch.
  • 12:00 PM: Take 2-unit bolus and eat lunch: chicken breast, beets, salad and whole-wheat bread.
  • 3:00 PM: Reduce basal to 0.1 units in preparation for afternoon training.
  • 4:00 PM: Eat a banana and go for eight-mile run.
  • 5:00 PM: Raise basal rate to 0.7 units per hour.
  • 5:30 PM: Take 2-unit bolus and eat two oranges and some grapes.
  • 6:00 PM: Yoga and stretching.
  • 6:45 PM: Take 3-unit bolus.
  • 7:00 PM: Eat dinner: salmon, salad and whole-wheat bread.
  • 9:00 PM: Glucose dropping, so reduced basal rate to 0.55 units per hour to accommodate for increased insulin sensitivity from intensity training.
  • 10:00 PM: Go to sleep.

The day described is typical and required nine adjustments to my insulin. I am thankful that I live in a time with diabetes innovations, such as the Omnipod insulin pump, which makes chasing my dreams and living with diabetes possible. My road to the Olympics will include Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Utah and Italy. There will be several hundred more insulin adjustments and hundreds more hours of training. Then hopefully there will be gold.

Learn more about the Omnipod System and try a free demo for yourself here.

NOTE:  Information posted on Podder Talk is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider for questions and guidance on managing any health-related issues.