Team Diabadass runner Dave Pratt has had Type 2 diabetes since 2008 and manages it with a healthy diet, exercise, and medication. He’s also an elite member of Team Novo Nordisk‘s running squad. He started running in middle school on the track and cross country teams, found he had a talent for long distance running, and has been doing it ever since.
What’s the toughest run you ever did?
The toughest run I’ve done was the Bandera 100K (62 mile) trail run in Bandera, TX. It consisted of two 31-mile laps of very rugged and hilly trails in the Texas Hill Country. It took every ounce of effort I had (and urging of my wife!) to go out on the second loop. The longest run I’ve attempted is the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail run in Huntsville, TX. That race was set up as five 20 mile laps. I made it through 4 laps (80 miles) before my body gave out on me, which was around 3 a.m., and I could not continue on to the last lap.
How do you manage your sugars during a run?
I utilize solid food (bananas, oranges, peanut butter sandwiches, etc.) from aid stations at events if possible for longer runs, and include electrolyte tablets like Hammer Endurolytes. For marathon or shorter runs I tend to use gels, about one every 45 minutes or so. I also like carbohydrate drinks like Heed or Nuun. For runs under 10K I stick to water.
How do you train?
It depends on what I’m training for. My training schedule is different if I’m trying to PR in a 5K to a marathon or if I’m looking to complete an ultramarathon. I also compete in cycling events and triathlon so how I train depends on what my next race will be. For 5k to marathon races, I like to put in about 30-40 miles of running on average, 6 days a week, with one of those days focused on speed work on a track. Obviously there will be some longer weeks, upwards of 60 miles per week for the longer races. For ultramarathons the training is a bit different, with back to back long runs on the weekend (i.e., 30 miles on Saturday and another 20 on Sunday) followed by three easier days in the middle of the week.
How do you stay focused?
I don’t really. I like to get lost in my thoughts during long runs. Its my time to reflect and think about life. I focus when I need to make certain pace splits, which happens mostly on the track, and sometimes during tempo days.
What’s the worst and best advice you ever got about diabetes or exercise?
The worst advice I received was that all I needed to do was eat sugar free food!
What would you tell someone just diagnosed?
That this disease is not a life sentence, in fact its quite the opposite. It is a wake up call to pay attention to your body and take care of yourself better.
What do you wish someone had told you earlier about diabetes and exercise?
That you need to pay attention to your blood glucose when you work out really hard and go into anaerobic mode. My numbers tend to rise quite a bit when I run really hard, like in a track session.
What keeps you motivated?
Fear of not finishing the next race! Also, I like to race and compete for all the folks who can’t, and for those who are inspired by what I do. If my racing inspires one person to get off the couch and try it, I’ve made an impact.
What do people in your support network do that you especially value and appreciate?
My wife not only supports me in my athletic endeavors, she even started running and competing herself so we could be closer. I appreciate that more than anything!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
For anyone who thinks they can’t run or aren’t a runner, but wants to try — You can! That’s the best thing about running. Anyone can do it. I don’t have any special ability. I just put one foot in front of the other and have been doing it a long time. We all start somewhere! Go for it!