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Old 12-22-2011, 09:10 PM   #1
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Question Smoking/Running?

Is it possible to be able to run after quitting smoking? I just recently quit. I smoked for about ten years. About a pack everyday or two. I want to start running come spring. Will the lungs allow it? Anyone been through it? Any suggestions?? Thanks
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:29 PM   #2
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Sure, it's possible. I did.

When I first started running I was shocked, shocked! to realize that not smoking was not enough in itself to make me able to run miles at a time. Seemed like it should have been. _Felt like_ it should have been.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:29 PM   #3
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yes. I know lots of former smokers who run. I know lots of runners who still struggle with smoking. I've been at races with smokers which freaks me out a little. But yes. You can run. Your lung capacity will be diminished at first but the longer you are smoke free the better it will be.

Heck, I know a lung transplantee with only 1 lung who runs marathons.
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Last edited by ennay; 12-22-2011 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:30 PM   #4
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I smoked for about 20 years. I took up running this year, about 3 years after quitting. I also have asthma (thanks to smoking). Luckily, the asthma has improved dramatically, but I still have some exercised induced symptoms.

I don't know if I'd handle the running any better if I had never smoked, if I didn't suffer from asthma or if I was just younger. I'm slowly increasing my time, though. I'm sure you'll be able to run just fine, even if you started now or in the spring. I'd expect that due to the smoking and just not being used to the running, you might become winded faster than others. However, your lungs have already begun healing. With time and determination, your endurance will improve, and you will be no different than a never-smoker or non-smoker.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:41 PM   #5
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Hi there!
I quit smoking in May 2011. Let me start off by saying I had only been smoking for 3 years so my advice may be a little off but I will share my experience and maybe it will help you! When I decided to quit smoking, I also decided I wanted to get into shape. I needed to change my entire lifestyle because up until then I was eating fast food several times a week, smoking about a pack every 2-3 days and not taking very good care of my body. Like you I also had aspired to get into running.

For the first month I found my cardio was crap. I could barely do anything without being out of breath, on top of being over weight my lungs just couldn't keep up. I would jog for only about 30-40 seconds and have to stop to get air, it was a great wake up call. Instead of jogging right away I decided I needed to do something less strenuous, so I did some work out DVDs and video games on my xbox kinect. It worked wonders, I lost weight and was slowly regaining my lung function. It took 1.5 - 2 months of this before I found myself able to move onto something a little more intense, when I did I stepped it up to a step aerobic tape I had in my house. I started with the smallest step possible and over the course of a month I was onto the biggest step and easily doing the advanced moves.

I began running on the treadmill 6 days a week and let me tell you, it was hard! Although I could run for a minute or two straight after that I was gasping for breath and had to take a long recovery walk to let my lungs catch up. Even though it was hard, I found it getting better even week by week. When I started I was jogging at a speed of about 4.3 (super slow) with no incline and it took me 80mins to run 3 miles. Its been about 2.5 months of using the treadmill now and I can run about 10-20mins straight, at a speed of 5.5-6.0 with a 2% incline, it takes me 55mins to run 4 miles. It is a significant improvement from before. My goal is to one day be able to run the entire time but for someone to essentially killed my lungs I do okay and am in no rush

Your lungs will definitely allow it but you have to remember to take it slow, as slow as YOU need to. Your lungs have been through a beating and will need time to adjust and clean themselves off. I think the best advice I have for you is to take it slow but keep your goals in mind, even if you are only improving by seconds you are still improving

Good luck! I hope I helped.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:27 AM   #6
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I started running when I still smoked - although I never smoked a pack a day (too expensive!). Your experience will probably be a little bit different from mine.

But, a friend of mine here in Germany is about 35 and has been smoking about a pack a day since she was in her late teens. She just ran a half marathon. She kept planning to cut down before the big day, but always gave in. Her doctor also diagnosed her with asthma, because of the cigs.

Well, she was fine - funnily enough, she really wasn't even an experience runner.... more on and off..... So, it just goes to show: where there is a will, there is a way!

In general, EVERY new runner will be gasping for air. Thats just the way it is. And you'll probably start coughing a bit of phlegm and stuff up, I know I did.

Running was perfect for me to quit smoking and stay that way! I hope it helps you like it has helped me. It really helps the overall quality of my moods.

Yeah- just remember, everyone gasps at first and it eventually becomes not so severe.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:46 AM   #7
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I too started when I was smoking,and at my heaviest weight to boot. In fact, I haven't altogether quit and I can run nine miles. You will find a way, indeed!

"The only journey is the journey within."
Rainer Maria Rilke

Last edited by fatferretfanatic; 12-23-2011 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:48 AM   #8
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I'm still smoking. I smoked for 15 years quit for 5 and started up 2 years ago. I will quit again but I can't right now (I've tried and I eat everything in sight!) But it hasn't effected my cardio at all. I was in Zumba class this week and was able to do high impact the entire hour where much smaller girls couldn't keep up. I'm sure they were wondering how the **** I was doing it but I have TONS of energy and LOVE the feeling of jumping and dancing. I do go for a jog every now and then and can do about 2KM's no problem. I'm sure if I quit it would be much better but for right now it's not effecting me. I'm going to lost 10lbs below my goal weight then quit so if I gain weight from quitting smoking it won't hinder me. I honestly can't do both right now. All the power to those who can! I wish I had your wilpower!

Just start slow and build your way up. When I started I couldn't even do 1 jumping jack. Take your breaks in your workout, catch your breathe and be easy on yourself. You will improve. Good luck!

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Last edited by InsideMe; 12-23-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I'm excited to start running.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:44 PM   #10
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I've never smoked anything in my life and I still run like an asthmatic piglet. (I don't actually have asthma, but like others have said, every new runner is gasping for breath!)

I found that doing interval training (1 min jogging, 1 min walking, repeat for 20-30 mins total) was a good way to build up my stamina and lung capacity.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:33 AM   #11
Run, run, run!
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I can't comment on smoking, but I have severe asthma and can run. I'm sure that quitting smoking and running will both do wonders for your cardio and lungs!
1. Achieve healthy BMI
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:19 AM   #12
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I actually weaned myself off smoking by running. Nothing makes me crave cigarettes less than being all out of breath from running. I got to a point where I was so excited about being able to run that I didn't want to smoke, so I just kind of tapered off.

When I stopped running and doing cardio regularly, I started smoking again, partially to try to control my weight. Now I'm desperate to quit smoking again and to restart exercising daily...
Push on some more!

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Old 12-26-2011, 03:26 AM   #13
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I used to smoke 3 packs a day and finally quit after about 17 years. A few years before I quit, I started running and I would bring 2 cigarettes with me on my runs, one for before, one for after. I wasn't the greatest runner in the world, but I would usually do about 3 miles, pretty slowly. But I don't think the cigarettes actually affected my running much. I didn't get a lot better at it after I quit.

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