Will stopping smoking improve my running?

Happy New Year!

So, I am off to Quitters tomorow lunch time to get kitted out with patches and advice to finally quit smoking for the last time. I want to quit for lots of reasons, general health, finances, to please my son, etc, but also because I am hoping it will improve my running ability.

I have been "running" for a couple of months now about 3 or 4 times a week but I can still only run (jog, shuffle, whatever) for about 8 minutes max before I have to walk again to recover, then jog - walk - jog for a couple of minutes alternating.

I have heard that smoking stops your muscles being oxegenated properly and that quittig should improve your running ability and stamina - have any of you stopped smoking and seen improvements, either straight away or long term?

I am enjoying my running, and I can already see improvements since the first time i tried it, so I hope that quitting ciggies will help me even more.

Thanks for any comments or advice you'd like to make,

BB image


  • simple answer to the question


    apart from the benefit of not absorbing carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals from tobacco smoke, your lungs will be able to absorb more oxygen into your bloodstream which will aid exercise - simple as.

    however, don't expect miracles - it takes a while for your lungs to recover from all the damage the smoke has been doing to them and it's generally recognised that it takes up to 7 years from quitting smoking for your lungs to look as if you have never smoked.

    I gave up nearly 30 years ago - never regretted it.

    good luck

  • Thanks buddha! I am looking forward to being smoke free too image

  • Another yes answer from me Bb. I quit 3years ago from smoking 20 a day!!

    It's the best feeling ever once you start improving, don't get me wrong it's tough but stick with it.

    Like Buddha said its not going to happen over night and may make you feel awful for a while (nicotine messes with your mind apparently) but when you finally stop coughing the tar up its quite enjoyable to smell better and taste clearly.

    I re-kindled my love with vegetables once I quit smoking image

    I went completely cold turkey when I quit and haven't looked back since.

    You certainly will enjoy it once you go for it.
  • I'm am lucky that I never started....jusrt want to say good luckimage

  • Thanks Jason, yep I am looking forward to smelling better, tasting my food properly again... and not having to stand outside in all weathers to smoke the damned things!!!

    Seren, thanks hun I appreciate that image

  • I smell better, food taste great and I don't get wet having a fag outside anymore

    Sadly 8 years after giving up I have yet to set a running pb. Think I'm just strange !
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    I gave up in November 2011 after 30 years on the weed, although the last ten years were as much on patches as fags. I don't know how I managed not to relapse in November, it just happened that way.

    I didn't notice any difference immediately but after about half a year the benefits were clear - easier breathing, less coughing and spluttering after a run or race and a general sense that it was getting easier. No pb's set (too old for that) but I've done some half-decent times. I just feel better in myself.

    So yes it will do your running a power of good, just not straightaway. It's a gradual thing.

    (Same applies for rowing as well, btw image)

  • I have, very occasionally, slipped a little for a few hours so to answer your question...

    Once off them for the main (about 3 years) then..

    If I had three fags round a mates house on Friday night, it added about 2-3 minutes to my 5K parkrun time the next morning, so about 10% handicap.

    As for giving up, I used running to do so, that and patches. Good luck.

  • Thanks all image

    I got my patches today so will be slapping one on in the morning and hoping it works! I feel positive, and TBH I am so busy at work this week playing catch up after the xmas break that I won't have time for a fag break anyway image

    Muttley... rowing machine is up on its end in the corner at the mo due to the annual xmas tree furniture shuffle, but it will be back out and in use again soon image

  • I think your Running probably will improve but on another positive note you will probably live longer. And also, as you get older, you won't end up with "cat's arse mouth" that horrible puckering sort of thing or a face like a Prune's Wallet. (see Keith Richards and Ron Wood). I gave up Smoking a few years ago, I felt a bit grotty in the first few weeks without a Smoke but it soon passes and you will realise that you feel a lot better.

  • Hi Bikerbabe,

    After 20 years of 20 or 30 fags a day I'm currently celebrating 131 days nicotine free.

    I gave up after chuffing like a steam train round a 5k route in August and ran the Cardiff Half in October.

    I can honestly say that my breathing became easier within 3 weeks. I started to actually enjoy my runs rather than concentrate on breathing. Plus I could stop wearing my MP3 (which i used to mask the sound of the wheezing)

    This is the first year in ages that i haven't had bronchitus image.

    Hang in there.

  • Good luck
  • Go for it! I gave up smoking just over a year ago and started running as part of my new lifestyle. I cannot tell you how much better I feel now and just wish I'd done it sooner!

    It WILL improve your running without doubt - you'll have more energy, breath easier, all those things! image

  • Hi there Bikerbabe. I'm on day 1 of giving up for the second time.

    When I decided to run my first 10km race I gave up with the aid of nicoteen gum after 15 years smoking around 20-50 a week. This lasted about six months and during that time my running not only improved but became something I enjoyed. I think you notice it from the first day not smoking but the real results were 6-8 weeks in.

    Since then I have also done a HM and am signed up for VLM. Unfortunately it's sneaked back into my life, not as bad as before - mostly a social smoker but enough to know it will stop be achiving my full potential which would be a tragic shame given the amount of time I am putting into training.

    So today I start again and for a while I will be avoiding pubs and bars, as these are my habitual places to smoke, to give myself an easier start and then after that I think it'll be nicoteen gum again.

    I found for the first few weeks having something to replace the habit, even if it just chewing normal gum, helped. Dont make the mistake I did and think that the odd drag on someone elses cigarette wont lead to worse. Give yourself short term things to look forward to in order to reward yourself.

    Honestly - best of luck to you. Giving up is such a difficult thing to do. As I am starting on the same day as you feel free to get in touch if you ever need support or just to tell me how you are doing!



  • Wow thanks everyone for the support, comments and advice!

    Vix - well done too! We can do this!

    Being totally honest, I had a shitbags day at work today so I did cave in and nick a couple from a colleague, but other than that I am enjoying my first day of trying to quit.

    Tomorrow I am doing my first parkRun with a friend who is a marathon runner, and she has kindly said she will slow down and stick with me as I trot around the course! If she is willing to do that for me, then I am going to slap on my patch in the morning and aim to have a very happy and relaxed day without the need of a fix!

    Have a great weekend everyone, I know I am going to image


  • Day 3 - no cigarettes. But have been hiding from the general public, seeing friends today for first time but only for lunch with non smokers and I'm not drinking. Avoiding evening invites.

    BB - how was the run? Did some hill training this morning. Legs collapsed before breathing which I generally take as a good sign! Gym and swim later. 

  • Vix - well done you on day 3 smoke free image awesome effort!!

    Yep, ParkRun was brilliant, I totally loved it and I will be back there again next week! I managed to meet a couple of people from the local running club too so might even join them on Tuesday evening as they train at the park on Tuesdays at their own pace so I won't be worried about holding people up like I would out on a group road run. Its all good image

  • You may find this timeline interesting http://smokefree.nhs.uk/why-quit/timeline/ The site is full of useful information http://smokefree.nhs.uk/ Good luck!

  • No thanks! I don't smoke!!!!! image

    Thanks SideBurn, thats a great link image

    Tomorrow evening I am off to join my local running club too... 2013 is going to be MY YEAR!!!!!

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