Smoking and Running??!

A stupid combination I know! Although I don't actually smoke while I run!

I have been running for a year or two know and have just joined a running club, which I am really enjoying, but its nearly killing me!

I intend to give up smoking, as I know this will help, but I am just getting myself motivated at the moment. I know a lot of people give up smoking and then start running but I wondered if anyone else out there had given up while they were running, how much of a difference it made and when they started noticing the difference?


  • I do smoke while I cycle sometimes.
  • Though im careful to make sure the fumes dont polute the carbon monoxide other cyclists and pedestrians would otherwise be breathing.
  • had a running mate he was a 2.45 marathon, always smoked. after the finish of the london one year he lit up as soon as he'd finished, the bloke next to him collapsed on the first smell of the cig. always wondered the time he could have done if he didnt smoke.
  • I was smoking when I joined a running club 2 1/2 years ago. I gave up after five months of running as I was struggling big time. My running improved greatly after a only a couple of months, although only in the fact I could run longer distances, I don't think I will ever be any faster. Had given up for 2 years and after a lot of stress recently, started again and am desperately trying to stop again, it is very up and down but if I keep entering races the thought of the race to come keeps me of the cigarettes. So it will definately make a big difference. Good Luck
  • I smoked 20 a day for 30 years... started running in March (this year)... gave up on the 1st Aug... and yes, it makes one hell of a lot of diference. If you are an uber athlete and smoke then maybe you can record fast times. If you are any/all of the following.... normal/slightly chubby/not that fast/a bit breathless up stairs/etc then you will improve. Your HR will drop (mine went from RHR 74 to 48 in 6 months), your breathing will be easier and your times will tumble (I couldn't do more than 2 mins running at the beginning of the year - now finishing in the middle order on races).

    Frankly someone can run 3 min miles for all it worries me - the simple truth is you are 2 x more likely to die if you continue to smoke than you would be if you stop! That was good enough odds to convince me. Do I miss it - not any more! Have I saved any money - NO, I've spent it all on new shoes, a garmin, a polar, a variety of running tops/bottoms/socks/belts/books!!!! Am I happy - you bet your boots I'm happy!!

    Go on - give em up - you know you want to!
  • Well I have done it! I've set a date to stop. I just need to keep reminding myself of how much easier I will find it to run. I have set myself the target of the GNR this year and a couple of 10K before that so I have those to think of the keep me motivated.

    Thanks for the support guys. I'll let you know how I get on.
  • Bootoo, if you have any mates who work in hopsital have one of them take you onto a Chest/Respiratory/Paliative care ward where they heve poepl,e coughing up their guts after years of smoking with the stench of the ketones in the air as their cancers rot them away. That should make you stop. Sorry to be blunt but............
  • We all know it's bad, but at the end of the day you will only stop if you want to. Running is a great incentive and a great health indicator as you can actually physically feel the benefits of not smoking. You may start asking yourself the question, why did I smoke at all to start with? But I guess you need to have smoked to appreciate this sentiment.
    Easiest way to stop? Just stop, chuck fags, stay out of einvironments that will encourage you to smoke. Oh and people that encourage you, they are the worst. For me it was always the pub especially after a couple of pints. I still struggle now. Good luck and just think about your running.
  • Just out of curiosity, have people who've tried to give up in the past unsuccessfully and who have successfully given up recently found it easier with more public places, espeically bars being non-smoking?
  • huge is right. when you REALLY decide that you want to stop, it's easy. unless you're in the pub. although now i haven't really smoked for a couple of years, even in pubs, and i rarely get ambushed by fags even in pubs.

    in fact i THINK that i've only smoked two fags this year, both times when completely legless, and both provided by bouncing barlist if my memory serves me right.
  • I am 11 weeks into my quit. It's the easiest I've ever found it (in many attempts). Why? Because this time it's me who really wants to do it.

    This time I know that I can smoke if I want to, but I choose not to. As opposed to previous quits where my mental attitude was that I wasn't allowed to smoke.

    For what it's worth I used the patch for the first three weeks, then stopped using it as I felt (correctly) that I just didn't need it.

    Having been a non-exercising 15-20 a day man for over 30 years even I can now take exercise: running (well, run-walking at the mo) three times a week and swimming on Tuesdays -- 48 lengths last night. Couldn't have dreamt of that 12 weeks ago.

    Don't be discouraged if you don't immediately feel the benefits. They come slowly and imperceptibly. What you would notice is how crap you feel if you start smoking again.

    Good luck!

  • Huge, that it my problem too. I have given up for long spells previously but it is always in the pub after a couple that I start again.

    Once it is banded in the summer I will never smoke again! It can't happen soon enough for me!

    Annaspanna, the answer to your question is YES! I can only speak for myself but I definately find it easier not too when I am not given the opportunity to drink and smoke.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    I smoked about 10-15/day up until dec 2004. I could go without for a while but would get back into it, triggered mainly when out drinking.
    I now absolutely detest even the slightest whiff of cigarrette smoke. Ive become the kind of person I hated when I smoked :O)
    I can remember heading to races having the odd cigarrette which I think is ridiculous now but didnt even consider it at the time.

    The biggest difference is prob a greater sense of health and well being, healthier skin and hair (if you smoke a lot). You do feel better about yourself knowing you're not dependent on anything.

    It wouldn't have so much of an impact on LD aerobic events as much as sprints to middle distance where you are crossing over your LT threshold and greater emphasis is placed on good lung function.

    I think Ive improved a little more having given up smoking than if Id continued. Funnily enough the biggest difference has been my weight (specfically fat%), but I can train harder and longer now. Swimming is obv a little easier!

    I dont like seeign people smoking at running events
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    skinnyoldgeezer - like the name/avatar!
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Hey Bootoo I have not smoked for 2 weeks, and I can already feel better when running.I ran a 10k on Sunday enjoyed it, still felt the effects of the cigarettes. I think I would have done much better, if I hadnt smoked. Got another race on the 17th and have set myself goals, need to beat an old friends times. And this has helped me going without a cigarette. Tonight is big test though, poker night with the guys.Ill wear something that reminds me of running.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    2 weeks after giving up you're playing poker with you've got will power!
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • I know,this is what I plan to do, Am not taking any cigs, lots of nocotine gum also a nicotine inhaler,and I must think of my race on the 17th, and try not to drink too much red wine.(am running in the eve tomorrow)

    Let the gods of poker be with me.
  • STOP SMOKING NOW , do yourself a big favour !!!
  • if you can't stop then your a drug addict plain and simple
  • I never smoked-smoked, but the lure of bad habits at uni (and pressure) meant that I become an occasional smoker; one to three a week kind of thing. Thing is, when I went running the following day I could feel it in my lungs. Really, REALLY feel it, and it was horrible. And it was enough to make me stop... Good luck to you - the feeling of free lungs is worth it!

  • I smoked for many years. And for a while I was going for a run and then having a cig immediately afterward. It was bad, but it would have been worse if I hadn't run at all (I think). I did mainly long (slow) runs, but after quitting found I could train for faster shorter distances. Its easy to say "just quit" or "throw them out" but its not as easy to actually do it. I recommend focusing on one thing at a time, like while you're quitting, don't totally go wild on your training, take it easy. As you have longer without smoking and your will power is stronger, then push a little more on your training. Good for you!
  • Addicts? Aren't we all? Who gets mardy and arsey with people if they miss a run? Isn't that just endorphin withdrawal?
  • Well said huge. I'm injured at the mo and the cravings to run are ridiculous. As are the cravings to start smoking again. And drinking. And donuts (the ones with the chocolate sprinkles).
  • I'm a mardy arsed cow when I can't run!

    Used to be a bit of a social smoker, and because I never did it much I *loved* the headrush it gave me. I do find it hard not to want to light up if those around me are smoking, especially if I'm drinking. Was even more of a nightmare when I was injured because I stopped thinking of myself as a runner and just thought 'what the hell?'

    Am fortunate in that I don't seem to have an addictive personality and I can't actually stand the smell of cigarette smoke.
  • Well I have done it. Had my last cigarette on Saturday and I am not officially a non-smoker.

    Just hope I can make it through Christmas and new year.

    I have to say if I had to give up smoking and running I would a nightmare to live with!
  • Good luck.
  • Excellent Bootoo! Just remember ODAAT (one day at a time). "Tomorrow I can smoke if I want to, but today I choose not to." It really helped me during the first few days. If you have a slip, don't turn it into a failed quit. Pick yourself up and learn from it.

    Don't worry too much about Christmas and New Year, although having coping strategies planned is a good idea.

    I hit 3 months next Saturday and already I'm thinking about smoking less and less. If I can do it, anybody can.

  • Good job, Bootoo, think we should keep this thread going as Smokers Anonymous. Having not had a beer for a couple of weeks I succumbed on Friday, and then some wine followed and then I thought, Aha, think I've got some tobacco somewhere, 2 mins later I'm attempting a sly one. Whoa, bad move but glad I did it as it tasted sh*te and made me think about why I had given up. So keep it up. Defs is a day at a time as SOG says.
  • hi my names clair and i had my last cigarette this mornin then threw the pack away.

    i gave up smoking back in march and started again a fortnight ago when i got fed up of not being able to run due to a back injury- back running now and dont want to not be able to run because i cant breathe- plus i need the money for a pair of gloves and nice warm hat.
  • Well done Clair. Don't forget that anything that helps you stay off the fags is fair play. This includes patches and gum. You can get patches on prescription, but they're cheaper than smoking anyway.

    You'll soon have enough for gloves and hat. I've saved £344 in 12 and a bit weeks.
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