Smoking Runners

Saw a guy today, a fellow runner in a race, having a fag before the race.

I dont know but for me it just didnt look/seem quite right.

I used to be a smoker myself for 10 years or so but gave up after I started taking running and fitness more seriously and havent had one since 2007 and I cant see myself ever going there again.

Are there any runner smokers in the forum? Does it not affect performance?



  • I smoked for 2 years while continuing to run in America, but stopped recently when I came back to the UK, and got back to my old proper training. I got into a lot of bad habits over there, but I feel better now in myself. It is possible to smoke (lightly, anyway) and run reasonably, but it's obviously not advisable. So many people smoke in the US, compared to here.
  • Thats interesting Rock, as I assumed Americans were not big smokers at all. Maybe it depends on the state?
  • Sometimes in winter on a cold day my feet smoke after a good run when I take my trainers offimage.
  • Heard on here somewhere about a triathlete who leaves cigarettes and a lighter in the transition area because he can't go for more than 4 hours without a smoke!

    I've just given up smoking again, and am seeing the difference already even though it's only been two weeks! The old routes that I used to blast around are a distant memory and a target for the future.

  • That'll be Bouncing Barlist!

    I only smoke occasionally after a stressful day at work ( 2 or 3 max a week). Even that I feel makes a difference the next day. Can't imagine what it must be like if you do it every day.

  • I know someone who smokes and can still run easily. It amazes me!
  • Surely the running will only open the lungs even more allowing greater damage to be done by smoking? Doesn't make sense to me...
  • Former Olympic hurdler, Shirley Strong, smoked 20 a day throughout her athletics career.  Wonder what she could have done had she not succumbed 

  • Marshalled at one of the race for life runs, as one of the last people went past (slowly) I heard them say to the person next to them they'd stopped half way round to have a fag. I almost exploded, there I am standing around for 2 hours something for the last person and they decided that the best thing to do whiles going round the course was to light up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!image
  • I dont know... When I still smoked and was a beginner runner, I always felt wrong after having a cig before or after a run. Not only mentally wrong but physically too. A guilty feeling. I wanted to give up so badly but just did it because it was a habit.

    I remember the mornings waking up and having dry mouth and throat...ewww!!!

    Running gave me courage to have all or nothing approach. I remember when I put down my last cigarette I felt relief knowing it was the last one.

    There has been only one occasion since when I nearly had one. I was a bit intoxicated with alchol and my friend was smoking and offered me one.

    I thought about it for 10 seconds or so and just realised that I know what it tastes like. Nothing new there. Nothing exciting. Done it for 10 years. I dont want it anymore. I am a runner and I love being healthy.

    And I knew that was my last test.

    What comes to my performance... Well I've ran a marathon. I'm still not a fast runner but... I'd rather run a marathon than TRY to run a marathon with tar in my lungs!

  • Giraffe,

    As a runner/light smoker (2-3 a day) I've often wondered if smoking after exercise is even worse for the lungs than just having a smoke.

    For f##k sake if i only smoke 2 a day why can't I smoke none!! Loser. grrr

  • Surprised about the statistics in Debsters link!
  • I gave up six months ago - I look at smokers huddled in doorways to shelter from the rain and top up their levels and think 'what a very strange habit that is'

    There is a coralled (sp) area outside Paddington station in London for smokers - it looks like a cattle pen at an agricultural show

    My husband still smokes and I must admit - it is one of the worst smells ever, even hours after smoking.

    I became unwell a few weeks after giving up which stopped me running completley for a few months, ironic as I gave up smoking in order to give myself a chance to become as fit as I possibly could. I'm very gradually recovering and can now run to some extent. Its been a tough six months for lots of reasons but I'v not been tempted by fags, not even once. I'v yet to experience the full benefits of being a non smoker in terms of feeling really well and fit - I still have that to look forward to.

    I cant help thinking that folk who smoke and run (or whatever sport) are taking their bodies for granted and will end up paying a price for being complacent.

    Soap box now put away image

  • Do whatever you can to pack 'em in.

    Took me 20 years and several failed attempts to finally kick it - and it was a combination of an appaling family illness, (and me nipping out of the hospital ward for a cig when on bedside vigil), and using running as extra motivation that finally did it for me.

    Dont want to be a holier than thou reformed smoker but its an evil, debilitating adiction that saps your pocket, health and dignity.... and it will kill you in a most unpleasant manner. Yeah ok - we all know that but it still took me 20 years to be free of the shackles of nicotine

    2 or 3 a day?

    Then you dont need it at all.

    If I can finally kick a 30 a day habit then anyone can - packing in actually wasnt as difficult as the anticipation of packing in: running my first 10k was more of a challenge in the end!

  • Exactly. There is nothing "hard" in stopping. The hard part is to decide to do it. Once you'cve decided the rest is easy.
  • Health issues aside, I really couldn't afford to smoke 30 fags a day!!
  • I smoke 10-20 a day and still run good times. Last 10km was 41mins thats with the mother of all hangovers and 3 hours sleep! I'm running London to Brighton in 7 weeks time. I know that i could go from being a good runner to a competitive runner if i could just pack in the smokes. It is my quest to give up by the end of the year
  • At the risk of appearing rude John - that's a bit of a cop-out - "...give up by the end of the year."

    Why not right now? Sorry, don't want to turn this into an anti-smoking post. It's I really don't get smoking. I have never tried it - not even one drag of a cigarette - so the whole thing confuses me. When I look at what it actually involves, it just baffles me.

  • To illuminate you:

    Nicotine is more addictive than crack cocaine apparently. When you are a smoker - fags are great - they taste great, they make you fell good - its why people smoke.

    The physical and psychological dependency is huge. Putting it off until the end of the year may well be "putting it off", but nothing in this world will make you give up smoking other than you.

    Full marks for recognizing the impact, and best of luck in giving up.

  • I promised myself that when the latest injury healed, I'd give up smoking again. 3 weeks ago, I KNEW I'd be off work for a week last week, and set myself that target. Consequently, last Saturday morning on my way to work, had my 'last' cigarette. Been off for a week, and yesterday when I parked up on the seafront for a run, realised I still had cigs and lighter in the boot of my car. When I got back from my run, chucked them all in the bin, thinking what is the point in all this sweat and toil if I'm going to keep some cigs in reserve!

    So far, 10 days and counting. You can do it!

  • "Why not right now? "

    bit naive there WG.

    if you've ever smoked - and you haven't - then giving up is NOT as easy as you may think due to the nicotine addiction as K-i says. I used to smoke and tried giving up a number of times - the longest I went was 6 months before finally cracking it over 20 years ago.

    good luck to those trying to crack the habit - hope you make it like I did....
  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    I stopped smoking about 25 years ago, after several years of around 20 a day. 

    It really is not as easy as "oh, just stop", it is a physical addiction which is very hard to resist.  When you smoke you KNOW that stopping is going to be hard, and sometimes unpleasant - that's why people put it off, or give themselves deadlines.

    I hate to think what I would have spent on ciggies over the years, if I had carried on!

  • I'm not being naive FB - honest. I just think that to say I'll give up by the end of the year is a serious cop out. Why not say I'm going to stop this week? Or today? I am also aware that it isn't that easy and you really need to be in the right frame of mind. I'm the same with my pies. I want to give up, but just can't!! Maybe by the end of the year?   image

    Sorry John, I really am not having a go.  I hope you do kick the habit.

  • Well done Wilbury - perfect attitude.

    Remind yourself that those cravings come in waves - and they pass.. and each time they come they are weaker than last time.... and you are stronger and better than cigs... with the willpower and determination it takes to run as far as you do, you can easily kick the habit too.

    You are spot on with : "what is the point in all this sweat and toil if I'm going to keep some cigs in reserve!"

  • WG - yes you are being naive as you've never smoked so cannot understand the hold that nicotine addiction has. setting a target date to give up is very common as it sort of sets the start of quitting in stone - trying to do it on an ad-hoc basis is not easy.

    I'd wanted to give up for ages and had tried many times, failing each time but finally managed to break the addiction by moving house - ran out of cigarettes as we were so busy doing things after the move and as we had no history of smoking in the new house, we broke one of the keystones of addiction - familiar surroundings.
  • I proper loved smoking. It was one of the few things that I was really good atimage. 20 a day for over 20 years.

    Having been 'clean' for 18 months or more now I still miss it and get jealous of smokers when I see them even though I know I'm not going back. It's just too much hassle now you have to go outside anyway.

    Giving up is about getting to a mental state of commitment as mentioned earlier. Don't even bother trying until you're at the right mental state as you're wasting your time. I only tried to give up twice. Once i was forced into it by my missus. Didn't work. Three days shaking and then back on it. Second time my decision and it was actually not that bad other than that horrible gum!!

    Smoking and running I did FLM 2006 on 20 per day and finished in 4:00. Stopped in Oct '07 and did FLM '08 in 3:44 and FLM '09 in 3:34 so it does impact your running. Problem is that you then start entering crazy races like IMCH!!!

    Great debate though!

  • likewise bob - I used to enjoy smoking and over 20 years from giving up there are times when I could murder a cig!!
  • Hey FB. I think some of us are genetically predisposed to habits more than others. That's why we end up forming alternative addictions...
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