Smoking Runner Wants to Quit Smoking

Hi, I am a 40 year old female, smoking for the past 21 years. I have completed 7 full marathons, 3 Two Ocean ultra marathons and various other long races.

I started running in 2000. I have never quit smoking but for the first time, I am trying to quit now.

I smoked about 30 a day and I'm down to about 10 a day now and have changed to a lighter brand.

The reason for deciding to quit is: I recently ran my first 11.5km race (did not run any races for the past 4 years, as I had a child).

I have only been running about 30km a week for the past 4 years (single mom, no time). And I have mainly run on a treadmill.

At the 11.5km race (bush trail), I felt my heart pumping a lot - as if I was going to have a heart attack and got a huge fright.

I desperately want to stop smoking and I desperately want to become the athlete I have always wanted to be.

If I do not do it now, there won't be another chance.

Please advise me how I should go about stopping smoking and how I must train to get strong and fit again.

running tips quitting smokingAnswer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your questions. Nothing like a good health scare to get us into action!

I am not a health professional, just a guy who likes running.

So I am not qualified to tell you how to stop smoking.

I would advise getting professional help from your doctor.

A good Australian government website (I live in Australia) is They provide helpful advice and coping strategies.

There is no doubt it is a tough addiction to break and it may require multiple attempts to kick the habit.

After you have stopped smoking your body will start its repair. Within a few days the level of toxins in your body will have dropped.

This alone will help provide more oxygen to your heart and muscles and should help your running performance.

Within a number of weeks your lungs start working better and over time (number of months) this will allow you to draw more powerful breaths which will have a strong influence on your running ability.

So, just stopping smoking will have some really good effects on your health and running. After that, it is a matter of using an intelligent running program to make best use of the limited time you have.

I would advice reading the following pages:

Running Training

Daniels' Running Formula --> use some of the money you'll save by not smoking and get a really good running training book!

Best of luck.
Hope you'll succeed.
Kind regards,

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Aug 19, 2011
by: Anonymous

Hi Dominique, thank you for your reply on my earlier post. I have at last stopped smoking completely now for 1 whole week and my lungs feel absolutely great while I am running. the only negative thing that I am experiencing now, is that I am gaining weight although I have NOT changed my eating habbits and I am running on a program, training for a half marathong on 10 Sept 2011. Is it possible thay my body is now holding on to all the food/fat/etc because I have taken something that it was use to for so long, away?

Your comments on this would be greatly appreciated. I heard from another athlete that I should try and take something to detox my body. What are your thoughts?

Aug 20, 2011
Stopping smoking is sufficient detox...
by: Dominique (webmaster)

Hi there,
Great to hear that you have stopped smoking. Hope you can keep it up.

Smoking a cigarette provides a small boost to the metabolism. You have been smoking quite heavily, so it has actually helped in maintaining your weight.

I wouldn't do any detox-cure at the moment. Quitting smoking is enough detox and keeping the willpower up to not start smoking again would be tough enough, let alone if you start detoxing and/or dieting.

For now I would just try to stay off the smokes and do your running. When you feel ready for it and you want to lose some weight, then you may want to think about controlling your calorie intake, but I would think that dieting at the moment would provide you with more stress than you need.

Anyway, that's just my humble opinion, I am not a smoker, nor a doctor. There must be forums around on which you can get opinions from fellow ex-smokers or health professionals.

Best of luck.
Kind regards,

Oct 26, 2011
Smoking runner
by: Anonymous

I have recently given up smoking too, and have found running so much more enjoyable, but as a smoker you want to know how to get over that initial hurdle.

I simply started by seeing how long I could go with out smoking, without the intention of 'giving up yet'. When I could go for a few days without lighting up, I knew then that I was achieving a short term goal.

All the time in my mind I was motivating myself, getting excited about the prospect of not smoking and preparing for extra runs, extra training I was going to do once I gave up for good.

You also need a preparation plan for mood or craving. Perhaps when this happens, throw in runners etc in boot of car and prepare to run a few shorter impromptu runs from work, or in town before picking up children etc.

Finally keep telling yourself, only 3 days and then the nicotine is out of your system.

In summary;
* achieve a goal of 2-3 days of not smoking first before giving up totally

* get excited

* prepare to run a few shorter runs, 10 - 15 minutes whilst moody or craving/habit

* when you give up for good, think ONLY 3 DAYS til nicotine out or system.

* also remember if you see someone smoking, you may think you want one too, but it is far more powerful knowing they are actually looking at you and they are thinking "I want to be like him/her..a none smoker, a runner."

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