Kinfd Advice needed!!

Hi All,

I gave up smoking towards the end of November after a healthy ten year relationship with them!! Also started running about 10-15miles a week ever since.
I walk 3.5 miles every day to and from work. Therefore 7 miles in approx 90 mins. Not quick but not a leisurely stroll either. I have done this 5 days a week since April.
I really enjoy running and find that I feel great afterwards but my lungs are by no way at the same level as my muscles. I can run for about 10 minutes a go before my lungs feel like they are on fire. My muscles on the other hand could easily keep going.
Has anyone experienced this in the past and is there anything I can do about it? It is frustrating as I feel that I being hindered from progressing by this.



  • Hi Lary,
    I've smoked for nearly 14 years and have recently given up. At the moment I run 2.5 miles 3x a week and 1 run of 40 minutes. I never have had the problem that you describe and I've given up only a few weeks ago. I'd suggest to go see a doctor and have a lung test done. Hope it works out OK.
  • Hi Lari,

    If you're struggling for breath and your chest feels heavy you may have exercise related asthma. Get your peak flo measured at the doctor's. I am asthmatic and with my inhalers don't have any trouble with breathing. Now running is another matter.

    PS I'm also an ex smoker.
  • Cheers Guys.

    Looks like better go and get checked out. Thanks for the advice.

    Fingers crossed I'll find that it is nothing serious. Bit daunting.

    Cheers again.
  • Lari

    As a GP and an ex-smoker (all of 3 weeks so far - the smoking, not the doctoring...), I agree with everyone above. Although most ex-smokers find their lung function takes a long time to return to normal (around 6 months on average), the usual complaint is "quitters cough", which isn't really what you're describing. But there's no denying that fags interfere with the normal mucus production in the airways, so when you stop, there's a bit of "catch-up" mucus production.

    Do you get breathless at any other times? What about the walking? Night time? Early morning? Do you have a cough? Because without any of these, I'd be fairly reluctant to label someone as having asthma, and, in all honesty, would also be fairly reluctant to investigate further.
    If it's just on running, I'd say keep going - you'll find the lung function will improve with time (as I said, about 6 months on average). And in answer to Slo'Boy, not everyone is as lucky as you... as for me - it's my first post-quit run this evening, so fingers crossed...
  • Hi lari,

    I've been a light/social smoker for nearly twenty years and I've found there is an almost direct corrolation between exercise and the amount I crave. However, after periods of inactivity (usually job-related) it does take me time to get the fitness back. I'm going through the struggle at the moment aswell, but doing ok, I've also joined a local gym and starting to do a lot of cross-training.

    The secret is, is to keep active, the walking is good stuff, but your lungs do need a work out. I've been seriously fit at times (used to do cycle racing and have run a half marathon) and I've suffered the same fire-like feeling as you. I don't know if it's a dangerous condition but it's doesn't seem to have done me any harm yet.

    Good luck!
  • Good luck Pitts

    I gave up in October and have found that running has really given me the motivation to keep off the cigarettes. Knowing that all the hard work I've put in training could be undone by starting smoking again just stops me when I'm having a weaker moment(normally in the pub!)

    So have fun on your first post-quit run. And even if it hurts think how much easier its going to get over the next few weeks.


  • You put a grin on my face Pitts.

    I can safely say that when i walk I am fine. I do not even think my hart rate increases an extraordinary amount.
    I have a walked a lot since April. I have not really noticed a cough as such but I do notice that when I am lying down trying to sleep I do get a ticklish cough developing which can disrupt my sleep.
    I will push on for awhile but if teh problem persists I might chaeck in with a Dr.
    Best of luck with your run tonight by the way. If the ice has cleaed from the walkways I will be running around too.

  • The good thing about stopping after 10 years Lari is that any changes in your lungs should be completetely reversible

    I f*rted about with running for a few months last autumn and recognise well that burning breathlessness thing
    Been runninng more committed for 3 weeks now, been off the fags for 8 days now(after 20 years), and I don't know whether its psychological or not but apart from the first few minutes warming up my breathing's tonnes better - did 13 miles other night and felt my lungs and heart could have gone on foreever - (unfortunately was starting to get a bit of chaffing, blistering, and sore knees)

    So stick with it folks!
  • I gave up smoking a couple of years ago, although I'm new to running.

    Think of the lungs as just another muscle. You're exercising it by running far more than you ever have before, so it's bound to complain at first. Happened to me too. Just stick with the running and your lung's ability to cope with the extra demands will slowly improve. Good luck.
  • Hi Lari, I gave up smoking about a year ago. I used to get very painful throat and lungs if I excercised heavily in the cold, but I am OK now. I think it just takes time for your lungs to recover from 10 years of toxic damage, can't blame them really! Keep it up and I'm sure the pain will ease as your lungs recover.
  • Yet again, Cheers guys.I can see the benefits of a forum like this.
    I'll push it. Hopefully my mungs will eventually catch up with my legs.
    and Dr. Brainz you have a good point, it does seem to be worse when it gets colder.

    Should be interesting tonight!
  • Dr Brainz, are you a REAL doc like Benz and The Pitts, or just a pretend internet-type doctor person?

    Lari, Well done!!! I gave up 11 years ago from a 35 aday habit and have never looked back. Wish I'd had the sense to start running then as i'd never have gained the 3.5 stone I had to work vv hard to shift.
    lol and well done to all quitters!
  • I gave up just over a year ago and was lucky - no cough, no side effects. Didn't start running until August, so the structural bits are still playing catch up to my lungs. Temperature doesn't sem to make any difference either.

    One thing I have noticed though is an almost permanent feeling of having just breathed in cold air. Bizarre and, I suspect, nothing to do with smoking.

    P.S I was given one piece of advice when I quit, "You only have to say no to the first one"
  • I don't know the answer to the question, but wanted to wish all those currently chucking in the fags the very best of luck. I dumped them last March - had been smoking for 20 years (about 30 a day for the last 10) - and although it's still difficult it's like getting my life back! Stick with it, and congrat's on having the courage to try chucking them in :-)
  • Well done to all you recovering smokers. Just a thought on the burning lungs syndrome: I've never smoked, but I do have late-onset allergic asthma. When I first progressed from 2 mile runs to 3, 4 and 5 miles, going up even a slight incline caused the burning some of you have described. It was very alarming! My way of dealing with it was to keep going, through the burning, for just a little bit longer each time, and then walking until it went away. Gradually (3 months?) it stopped happening, and now it doesn't happen anymore (been running for 6 and a half months). Good luck everyone!
  • OK. Just finished my first post-quit run. And yes, my lungs felt on fire a bit. And yes, I agree with Brainz - I'm sure the cold weather had something to do with it. Having said that, the rest of me's aching this morning, so maybe I just generally pushed myself a bit too much.
    And I had no urge to light up at all - even when my training partner lit up as we walked the last hundred yards home...
  • Well done, Pitts. After I started running again a few weeks ago while simultaniously quitting the white stick, I found that as long as you have a good 5 mins walk and about 10 minute stretch after that it really lessens the muscle ache a lot.
  • Nice one Pitts,

    I managed to push a bit harder last night managing a 15 minute run before my lungs demanded more attention. Think I will try to keep it at 15 minute intervals for a while and then push for 20.

    But My god was it cold!!!
  • Hi Helen T, no I'm not a real Dr. although I have been doing a PhD but my funding has fallen through so i am about to be unemployed. Boo-hoo. Running (+gym) has now become stress reliever! The Brainz bit comes from doing a neuroscience degree. Once again, good luck to all the quitters.
  • Ooh, v brainy!
  • Hi everyone, this is my first posting here. I have been running for 6 or 7 years now, still smoking very lightly though I'm afraid! Trying to cut right down, still feel like one when I go to the pub though!!
    I run about 10 miles a week and am running the Great South on 12th October, this will be my 4th, also undertaken 2 local half marathons, also several other 10 milers, 10k's and 5 milers. My chest does feel hot sometimes, generally at the beginning of a run, but settles after a couple of miles. I usually feel quite good after running or swimming or any gym work. Good luck all of you with ceasing smoking, it's very difficult!
  • I stopped smoking in feb this year after smoking 20-30 per day for 10 years. after about 2 weeks i found I could run quicker than when smoking. don't really see it as effecting me any more, so just stick with it
  • I find social smoking motivates me to run more. If I can have five fags in the evening and run five miles the next morning, can't I just enjoy both? When I haven't smoked for several days I find my motivation for running has lessened! Am I the only one?
  • Hi all,
    I have just given up smoking 20 a day for the last 26 years.
    I am 40 next year and hope to do the FLM for the first time.
    Have run for a running club for 4 years buit kept getting injured or felt unwell.
    2 steps forward one step back was how it was going for me.

    I still have bronchitis, this last viral infection that is going around and so have been unable to run for over a week.
    The cough seems to be lasting along time, but this is just my lungs clearing themselves out.

    A tip that works for me if I get a craving:-

    I have an old tin in my utility room with a half smoked fag in stinks.
    I just sniff the tin and my craving disappears.

    Good luck to you all


  • Hi,
    Can anyone give me advise.Do I have enough time as a complete beginner(well its been 3 years since I did any running!)to train for FLM in April? If so whose training programme would you recommend? I have 5 months!!

  • There is a "get you round" training programme for begginers like yourself.
    These usually start end of Dec for 16 weeks up to April.
    You can find the schedules on this site under training FLM.


    Good Luck!
  • Back in January I posted on this thread about having given up smoking and not having any problems except, "an almost permanent feeling of having just breathed in cold air"

    Sassie replied with a reference to late onset allergic asthma. Prophetic.

    Now about to have allergy tests to identify some of the causes of the asthma which has two compnents - allergy and exercise.

    Still not smoking though :-)

    "Just say no to the first one"

    Julie, you have time - all you have to do is start now. Good luck
  • I gave up smoking 4 1/2 years ago and started running with a fun run of 2km, nearly killed me, the same year. Since then I run regularly inc. a lot of races (more tortoise than hare). I developed asthma after giving up smoking - animal fur seems to be the main trigger but it usually takes me a couple of miles when running to "clear the tubes". Good luck with the tests.
  • Hi Helegant and Crackered. Sorry to hear about the breathing problems. My main allergen is animals too. Ran a 10k on Sunday and had the horrid burning sensation under the sternum for about the first twenty minutes. First time for over a year. Think I just went off a bit fast.
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