I Am Ridiculously Unfit (Stamina Wise) - How Can I Increase It By Running?

I am a 25 year old male.

I have been bodybuilding since I was 15 years old.  I weigh 14 stone (196lbs/89kg) and my height is 5 foot 11 inches.

I weight train 5x per week in the gym, and one thing I was very self conscious about over the years is my terrible stamina level.  Unfortunately I have never really added any form of cardio into my routine, and I feel that may be partly why I am so unfit, even though I weight train 5x a week.

I have now made an effort to try & build my stamina up.  I have no desire to lose any weight/fat although if this comes with running I'm not going to complain.  But for now, my MAIN goal is to increase my stamina as much as I can.

To give you an idea of my current fitness level...

I bought a pair of decent/reputable running trainers & went for a run today for the first time in several years, having never really run seriously at all in the past.  I had planned on running for at least 10 minutes without stopping, as I felt this was a realistic first goal to reach.  I was extremely disappointed & let down with myself when I began running and had to stop 25 seconds later due to running out of breath.

It wasn't just a case of having to stop for several seconds and then restart again, I just felt COMPLETELY wrecked stamina wise.  I'm sure you can understand how this felt for me, considering I've been in the gym for 10 years straight weight training, yet never really knew how unfit I was.

I just now feel very self conscious due to the fact that I've seen people in their mid 60s who are semi overweight, running around my local park without having to stop even once, yet I'm a 25 year old lad who has been weight training seriously for 10 years, and has to stop running after just 20 seconds or so due to running out of breath.

It's even making me not want to go back out to run which is a shame, due to the fact that people looking are probably going to notice I need to stop after just 20 seconds, because I'm so unfit.

If you guys could give me some advice, or let me know exactly what I need to do in order to increase my stamina I would GREATLY appreciate it.  Please do not hesitate to suggest anything to me.  I'm VERY motivated to increase my stamina, therefore any suggestions made will be great, and I will take them on board!

Thank you guys.


  • Its a completely different fitness - if you havent trained for it - then its no surprise that it knackers you.

    What you probably need to do is slow right down though - take it very gently, and do walk run if you need to. There are plenty of beginners plans out there so pick and choose whatever suits you. 

    Fitness will come if you persist - but you know that from your own training anyway. 

    Keep at it !

  • JimineyJiminey ✭✭✭


    I have a few non-running friends who have used the couch to 5k plans with success. Have a look at it and see what you think. Well done on actually attempting your first run!


  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Cougie is right. Its a different sort of fitness.

    If it helps, being fit as regards being a race fit runner, will help do better weight training. This is on account of being able to shift the accumulated lactic acid faster.

    As a distance runner I have no problem shifting large amounts of weights. Over the course of an hour I rarely need to stop.

  • Why not start off with a brisk walk, fast enough to feel like you are raising your heart rate, but not so fast that you are breathless. Go for 20 mins. Next time do the same,but run between a couple of lamp posts now and again. Keep building this up with each outing. Before you know it you will be jogging for 20 mins. Male pride may make the brisk walk a challenge

  • What everyone else said, try slowing down alot even if it feels really slow......it will work over time honest and also STOP worrying about what other people think image they really dont care image 

    Good luck and well done for making the step out there image

  • Hi Vanch,

    I just joined the forum and posted this message on another thread. Anyway, I thought it might help, so copied below.... The run double app is a couch to 5K and day 1 involves running for 60 secs, walking for 90 and all of that 8x. I agree with what ALSORAN says. I was considering jogging between alternate lampposts. I found jogging at a very slow pace for 1 min is OK though.

    I have never run before and I'm badly out of shape as excercise has never been appealing to me. Main goal is to lose a bit of weight and generally get fitter to help my general lethargy. I take steroid medication for a health condition and it makes me hungry all the time so I end up eating and gaining weight.

    Last Tues I downloaded the free rundouble app on my mobile and gave it a go. I only managed half (and not really doing the full intervals) and came home feeling like a half-success and half-failure. Determined not to give up, I googled "C25K Too Hard" and found others who just couldn't do it. Their advice was:

    • Jog, don't run. A jog can be almost walking pace.
    • Walk if you can't jog, walking through an interval is OK.
    • Work up the intervals, Perhaps starting with 1 or 2 of them out of the 8 and adding one at a time when you're ready.

    It all made sense to me.

    So, Friday I went back out there and jogged 5 out of 8. But my feet hurt and my earphones kept falling out. Went and bought some running shoes and earbuds.

    Saturday, jogged 2, walked 1, jogged 2, walked 1, jogged 2. Felt great!
    Sunday, jogged 3, walked  1, jogged 2, walked 1, jogged 1. Felt satisfied.
    Tuesday, intended to jog 4, walk 1, jog 3. Managed to jog 8. Felt amazing!
    Today I did wk1 day 2. My pace varies from 10.20 mins per mile at the beginning to 11.30 minutes per mile by the end, Which both surprises me and pleases me as 10mins would be the aim for wk9 so I feel close. Tomorrow is rest.

    Calves are stiffening so I need to be dilligent about stretches.

    I find the rundouble app is great. Not only is it free, it uses your mobile GPS to record your map route, displays a graph, records distances etc. You can customise what notifications it tells you. You can use your own playlist. Only thing is run double doesn't talk you through stretching.



    Best of luck! Stay encouraged. Surely if I found day 1 of week 1 too hard and managed to devise a week 0.5 to break me in gently, so can you!

  • For rest days, I'd appreciate to hear from anyone who has some motivational tips on maintaining motivation, momentum, willpower and enthusiam.

  • You don't need motivation, momentum, willpower and enthusiam on a rest day, it's a rest day!

  • LOL - I see your point but You know what I mean!

  • Beanie, i am in a similar position. I had not exercised for 20 years.

    I started the C25K and am now on Wk3 Day2, it is great fun and trust me when i first went running I did 5 mins walk warmup, 1 mins run, 90 sec walk, 1 mins run and......................... i couldnt do anymore.

    IT WORKS, push yourself a little and you can do it and soon be running longer.

    Alot of people are in the same boat as us. The difference is we are doing something about it. Go out at night like I do, then people cant see you. Once we get fitter we can brave the lyra shorts and go during daylight hours hehehehe.

  • I wasn't taking the piss! I was serious, enjoy your day off, forget about running, when you start doing 10 miles with tempo on a tuesday, 6 easy on wednesday and then a 14 mile medium long on a thursday you'll appreciate your day off on friday before the big weekend runs, then you'll understand what I mean image

  • That is absolutely brilliant, thank you guys.  I'll definitely be starting the c25k programme soon, and hopefully it'll help me out.  I had never heard of the c25k before, but it seems to be just what I'm looking for!

  • Please see my thread 'endurance' right below yours, has some useful tips...
  • How's it going Vanch?

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