Exercise! - Question for runners especially if your an ex smoker!

06-06-2012, 11:14 PM
Hi runners! I recently quit smoking as part of my journey to a healthier me. I have also been going to the gym 5 days a week along with changing my diet. I walk on the treadmill with an incline for a half hour out of the hour I am there I end up with about 1.82 miles/30 mins when I am doing it this way. I havent been doing this for long so I understand I will get stronger, but when I try to run or jog I feel like I am going to to die!
I really want to start running out side of the gym with friends and save the gym for other machines and weights. I am just curious if you have any advice on how to get started and what I can do to regulate my breathing. If you are an ex smoker who started to run how long did it take for you to feel like you could breath like a non smoking runner? right now I am following something I found on line to start out walking for 6 mins then running for 1 min 3 times. You do this changing the intervals for 8 weeks until you can run 30mins with out stopping. Just not sure if that how I should start or not. Mind you I have never ran for fun in my life so I am very new at this regardless of the fact that I am almost 30 lol. Thanks for any help!!

06-07-2012, 09:23 AM
The program you mention sounds a lot like the Couch to 5k... You will get better that's for sure,give it time... I know smokers that have no problem running :shrug: imagine! So hang in there, eventually you will get better...

BTW :bravo: on quitting smoking !!!

06-07-2012, 09:30 AM
I never smoked, but when I took up running I couldn't breath (I did couch to 5K) It turned out I have exercise induced asthma. I saw my doctor and now I have an inhaler that I use 30 minutes before I run. And I can breathe! So, maybe visit your doctor.

06-07-2012, 10:53 AM
Hi - you are me haha. Monday of this week I celebrated two months since quitting smoking - with approximately 1/2 pack day habit for 10 years [more on the weekends]. I also have an inhaler for exercise induced asthma - [yea I'm an idiot for smoking...I know].

Anywho, not everyone is the same. If I really REALLY pushed myself, while smoking I could run 2-3 miles at 9.5 min miles once a week or two - it was pretty painful so I rarely did it. It would hurt my chest but I could do it. Since quitting, 2-3 miles is a short run for me and I run it at least a min. faster. The first 2 weeks after I quit, I remember the BURN in my chest when I would start running, for me at least, you have to run through that - it goes away/gets better. After two - weeks, I would be able to run about 1.7 miles, walk .3 miles and then run back about 1.3-1.5 miles. Now, two months later, I'm running about max 7 miles without stopping, about 9:15 miles for distance, 8 min miles for anything less than 4.

I was working out before I quit, so clearly that helped, just not really running [maybe once every two weeks or so]. Now I am running 3 -4 days/wk. That's within 9 weeks.

Good luck - stick with it! Honestly, for my health, it's pretty much the best thing I've ever done - to stay on track, I signed up for a million races to keep reminding me why I quit. So far I've done a 5k and a 5mile race. I have a 10k race this Sun and a mud-run next Sat. and it's SO much fun!!

06-07-2012, 11:07 AM
Another C25K graduate....the program took me from NO running to a 5k in 9 weeks. (In fact, I did slightly more than a 5K this morning). Not a smoker but I can say my breathing was really difficult when I started with the 1 minute runs. Happy running....:)

06-07-2012, 01:56 PM
ya, i dont think its necessarily smoking related, but rather not being conditioned to running. It wont be long before it goes away and is not an issue. I am a smoker and a competitive runner, and have ran multiple marathons, etc. Im not bragging, just being hinest

06-07-2012, 02:21 PM
Congrats on quitting! That's great. Soon, soon, someday, I keep telling myself. I'm at 2-3 cigarettes a day on average.

Breathing sucks for ALL beginning runners. I almost died during the 12 minute walk/run in high school, years before ever touching cigarettes - I'd feel all wheezy and terrible and like I was going to die. When I taught myself to run via C25K style walk/jog in 2010, I was smoking. Running regularly made me want to smoke less because being able to breathe and run at the same time feels good, so there was that.

06-07-2012, 03:17 PM
I smoked heavily from age 16-21 (by heavily- 2-1/2 packs a day every day, up to 4 packs a day if I was super stressed or if I went out to the bars drinking). I was young but couldn't walk up a hill or go bike riding without having to stop constantly to catch my breath. After quitting, I saw improvements but it does take a bit for your lungs to heal but I took up running at age 25 and did quite well at it, mountain biking, climbing, etc. I didn't get super active until I was 25, I suspect I would have saw improvements in my lung capacity more quickly if I had been applying myself.

Congratulations on quitting, and don't get discouraged. It may take a while but you should see improvements, and probably quickly since you are actively working on a program. :)

06-07-2012, 03:51 PM
I have never smoked, but my sister quit a few weeks ago (well more like a month and a half now). She has joined a gym to try to lose weight and join the military. It took her about five or six weeks to be able to run a mile without having to stop and walk a bit or feeling like she was going to die. Keep up the good work though, and in time you will be able to run and breathe :)

06-07-2012, 04:05 PM
I think this is two-fold, first I learned how to run [while as a smoker], which is hard in and of itself, and I reached a limit and was at that, and FOR ME ONLY, running was MUCH harder as a smoker b/c my chest would burn and I would feel like I couldn't get deep enough breaths. Now, I'm learning how to improve I guess, as a non-smoker and I find that what was harder for me when I smoked, is easier. Similar to mkroyer, I have a good friend who runs marathons & smokes, but I personally couldn't do that.

06-07-2012, 05:18 PM
Thank you all so much! I really want to run a marathon and **** just run with my kids with out wanting to fall over! I think I will stick with this 8 wk plan (couch to 5k?) I started doing the 1min runs and that seemed ok for me I did it 4 times rather than 3 so that my total would be 30 mins all together. I felt ok while running for a min the last one took a little more effort but I think the more I do it the better it will get. Thank you its very motivating to hear what other people have been able to do smoker or not! and congrats to you all!