When it comes to training for sports and living with diabetes, preparation is a key factor. What’s “essential”, however, can be different for everyone. Below, Team Novo Nordisk Ambassador Becky Furuta lists her Top 5 Essentials for race day.
Always have a plan
I never go out to train without a specific plan for the ride. Maybe I’m working on cadence, or doing hill repeats or intervals spread throughout a two-hour base ride…but I never just wing it.
I need structure and purpose. I’m busy with work and family, and I can’t afford to waste workouts doing things that won’t translate to success when I’m ready to race. I know what I’m doing today, tomorrow, and right through to next Friday.
When you have diabetes, it’s easy to get caught up thinking about nutrition and food, but hydration is equally important. And dehydration can totally break a race or cut short a day of training. So I always track my intake of water throughout the ride. For me, it’s one bottle every hour, at least.
I eat the same breakfast every time I race, and I keep my nutrition on the bike pretty consistent for training. Consistency makes it easier for me to manage my blood glucose, and I know what keeps me fueled and my stomach feeling good.
I check my blood glucose often to make sure my food intake is feeding my exercise and keeping my blood glucose where I want it to be.
Set a goal
I train best when I have a clear objective. Maybe I’m training for some specific races, or maybe I’m working to improve my climbing or sprinting…but I always have short and long term goals to keep me motivated and focused. Knowing I have a race that I need to work toward will ensure I prioritize working out.
It took me a long time to really understand the value of rest and recovery. Early in my training, I’d look at the plan and see easy spin days, and I’d push myself harder because I felt as though I was wasting time. I’d see a recovery day on the plan, but it would be sunny and beautiful outside, so I’d go do a group ride. But really, my body is designed to adjust to intensity, and so if I never rest, I never get the opportunity to push that aerobic bar any higher.
Now, I take a lot of structured rest days, some of which are off the bike entirely and some of which involve very low short or low intensity days on the bike to maybe just spin out my legs. Working out isn’t always going as hard and as fast as possible. That was a valuable lesson for me.