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Smokers aspiring to be runners

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I am a smoker-yes, I know, I know.  I intend to quit soon, have my date picked out and all.  I've been seeing a doctor who is monitoring my weightloss and even he suggests waiting to quit until I am comfortable with my new eating habits.  I know that if I try now, something is gonna give. 

I've always wanted to be a runner.  I've tried it in the past and just can't seem to get into the routine.  But, with my new found dedication to self improvement, I think this time it will.  The problem?  I'm a smoker. So my question is:

Are there any runners out there that are also smokers?  Any smokers that want to become runners?  Is it possible to increase lung capacity while also smoking?  Should I just wait until my quit date to start?
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I was once a smoker too. I also before I quit started jogging, I found that sure my fitness improved but I also was poluting my new lung tissue! I found it hard to jog while smoking and till about 3 months after the fact. To be honest with you, i relied on God to take the addiction away, the cravings are totally gone now, and it is like I never was a smoker. I know it is easy to turn to a cigarette to calm the nerves or food, or have a "quit date" but if you really want to quit you will butt that cigarette out half way and say, that is it! I have had it. Turn to Jesus for help and you will feel a tonne better! I can say that I wanted to quit so bad that even the thought of a cigarette now ( 2 years smoke free) makes me go no way! - health wise I think you should just quit and then start jogging right away, otherwise, well jogging while smoking, you will be in better shape, but you'll be a little counter productive as your lungs try to clear out that tar and resin that is making it hard to get oxygen for your muscles to use while jogging. - hope that answered your question.

ps have faith that you are not addicted,  I am telling you this jesus stuff works! I tried it and like I said cigarette free for 2 years!
I appreciate your advice but to be honest, I am agnostic.  I don't think your method will work for me.   I need to look to myself for strength.  I've quit before and was successful for about a year.  Not sure you can call it a success seeing as how I picked it back up again.  I do know that everyone that quits had their own method, the thing that works for them.  When I do quit, it will be for good.  There are children in my future and that alone will be all the motivation I need.  For now though, I'm just not ready.  When I am, I will.
So, I guess you are right about it being counter productive to start running now.  I do get exercise but, I'm looking forward to being a runner.  Another thing to look forward to as a non smoker.

Congratulations on your success.  I'm glad that your faith has been such a great source of help for you.  And regardless of our differences, I truly value your opinion and wish you nothing but success.
I used nicorett gum to quit almost 19 months ago, it was really quite easy, not many bad cravings. just find something to do in place of smoking.  a really good support site for the smoking is at it is possable to quit smoking and be on a weightloss/excersize program.  I gained 30 lbs from quitting but now thanks to the tools I have found here I have dropped 19 lbs and am working tward my goal. If I can do it so can you. It's not easy but totally worth the extra effort
You can be a runner and a smoker, but you probably will be slower and wheezier than you would be if you didn't smoke.   I started running after I quit smoking (because I was having kids, so I guess that it's more due to a shorter, rather than higher, power), but a girlfriend of mine started running last year, and she still smokes. She's not very fast, but she does it and she enjoys it, and she's a stronger runner now than she was a year ago.   Of course your lungs won't function as well as they would if you didn't smoke, but less-than-optimal exercise is better than none at all.  I would suggest finding a learn-to-run program (check out,, or for sample programs).  They tend to start pretty easy (lots of walking, a little running) and build from there. 

Remember, a healthy lifestyle isn't an all-or-nothing thing.  Making small changes, one at a time, is how we gradually transform our lives for the better.  Don't tell yourself that you have to transform first, before you make changes.    You can and should work out, even if you smoke, even if you're fat, even if you free-base transfats.   Healthier is way better than unhealthy, even if it's not perfectly healthy (yet).  

[And once you start running, you may find the extra motivation to quit, or at least smoke less.] 

Hope my rambling makes sense.  Good luck on the road, and with the cigs.
Hi there. I smoke. Yes...I said it. And my plan is to quit after the new year, but as for right now I'm a smoker who jogs 3 days a week. The whole idea of jogging is actually a lot more than "can my lungs handle it?". You have to build up to be able to go certain speeds. I started 2 months ago and I max out at 5mph right now. But I'm getting better. My breathing is eradic sometimes but I manage. you can definitely do it.
Thanks everyone, you guys are the best!  And nicoley, you crack me up!  This is great advice.  The best thing about C-C is that there are always people out there going through the exact same thing as me.
I don't smoke, but I do have asthma.  Normally fairly dormant asthma, but it's been acting up a bit lately with the dry winter air.  So, if I can do it with my asthmatic lungs, I think you can with your smoker's lungs.  :)  I say go for it!  (But then, you knew I would, didn't you? :) )
I smoke and I have just recently started to run.  I know it would be much easier to run if I quit...I just havent done it yet.  Its the old military in me that says you can smoke and still do anything..
Of course Jenn, I was waiting for your reply :)

Oh, it's on!  I guess I'll just be that much better off when I quit.
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Hey,  know it's a late reply but I just signed up.  I quit smoking 2 years ago with a goal mind:  to run a marathon.  Now, I'm training for my 3rd.  What did it for me was that I was able to relax in another way.  Plus, I did it while on vacation, which helped tremendously, I could just relax.  Even the knots in my back went away!

Good Luck!
As a former smoker myself, I can tell you that exercise definitely plays a part in being smoke-free.  Sucking smoke into a set of lungs that just worked hard at something noble is a big turn-off!

When I quit, I took Zyban (the prescription medication).  Worked like a charm.  I didn't even realize I was quitting -- I just gradually didn't smoke any more.  To be completely honest with you, the medication made quitting smoking very easy.  Of course, I was ready to quit, etc., etc., but the Zyban took all the effort out of it.
Im having the same problem, except i dont smoke. I wish i could give some advice on the running part but i need some myself. lol. my mom quit smoking i wanna say 6 years ago. I will encourage you to quit smoking especially if you have kids. stay strong and you can do it!


Not trying to sound cocky peeps but I believe I have the most practical exp in this subject of jogging smoking.  My credentials: I quit smoking for 6 months and ended up averaging 16k jogs in the end.  

I restarted smoking and was still able 2 jog those distances(more). However deepening on the volume of smoke and jog and time before/after smoking then jogging my abilities would be better or worse. 

There are probably two key points, one which people don't mostly know.  If you have dirty lungs for whatever reason jogging is going to be naturally cleaning them out.  I felt this definite effect all the time, it makes perfect sense i hope =).  The second thing is I would say you can keep cardio jogging abilities at a respectable level if u are smoking light. If you are trying to become a marathon runner though u are lol wasting ur time.

Regarding cessation and what wininie said! ASDF ANGRY FACE :|.  God is the man,  and he helped me quit a great deal.  BUT! he won't do for you what u won't do for yourself so being strong of will is key.


On another note I am 50ish hrs. nicotine free atm.  I hate how I restarted smoking again,  rl stress is a pain.  This time it won't happen again.  Health is number 1!!!  

I know at least two running smokers (smoking runners?). Both are Englishmen. I don’t know the answers to any of your detailed questions, though.

On the basis of no specialized medical knowledge whatsoever, but common sense and experience as a walker, I would suggest you prepare pre–quit date with fast walks, if you’re not sure about starting to run.

This topic is from 2006. Just an FYI.

Original Post by kelrantymus:

Original Post by bierorama:

This topic is from 2006. Just an FYI.

I've been trying to make a joke about running and zombies and zombie threads and smoking for like an hour..........So far, I'm failing.

Yeah, I attempted and failed as well.

17 Replies