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Couch to 5K
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Hello guys and gals

Wow, what an inspiration you all are, when I have a day when I don't feel like running, coming on here makes me want to go!

So, hello, I'm female, 25 and have hated/avoided running my whole life. I've always been fairly active though dancing etc as a younger person and then doing some weights etc as I got older however I had some lung issues when I was younger and avoided running because of it....then, I took up smoking like the idiot that I am!!

I have now quit smoking for 4 weeks and have started the c25k programme as, it really wasn't good, at 25 to be out of breath running up stairs!!! :O I also want to join the RAF and have a fitness test to pass - the sit ups and press ups are no problem but that 2.5K run in 13mins or less has evaded me for a long time....I couldn't run for 5mins without being breathless. I would get so down and disheartened.

So, here I am at the beginning of week 4....found it a bit tough going at times (I started on week three) but the sense of feel good at the end of a run is amazing!!! starting to enjoy running for the first time ever :-)

Hoping to connect with all you lovely people to celebrate the gains and support on the bad days. Has anyone here quit smoking and then started? Would love to read the inspiration!!! Hoping that soon it will be my legs giving out before my lungs and not the other way around!!

Nice to meet you all xx

11 Replies

I quit 4 years ago after after over 30 years as a smoker, I used to get out of breath walking upstairs never mind running up! I thought I was never going to manage this week 1 I thought I was dying! 😀 I've got an injury at the moment but the breathing has definatly improved loads, I was going great guns until I injured my leg. If I can do it at twice your age, you can definatly reach your goal! Good luck! 😀

Ps you'll get lots of support on here, everyone is so friendly and really helpful. X

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Hi Charlie , Welcome to this fabulous programme and the forum !

I was a heavy smoker for 30+ years and I stopped 3 years ago. Quitting smoking and starting this programme has completely changed my life .

You are young, your lungs have more chance to recover .In a couple of years your body will be like that of someone who's never smoked .

Keep at it, take the runs slow and steady . You don't have to worry about speed or pace at this stage .

Good Luck ! Keep posting as it will really help you in keeping focused and motivated . You can do this ! :-) xxx

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I was a chimney too. Never go back to it, it's mental! Your lungs will thank you for sure. One thing is certain, you might have a chance of passing that fitness test having given up the gaspers and taken up C25k. If you let things slip you won't. Nothing like a goal for focussing your mind.

C25k is brilliant but you just have to stick at it, doggedly and determinedly, and go out running when you'd rather not. That's where we come in. We give you a boot up the arris to get you out the door. All free and part of the C25k service

And go ....... have fun!


I haven't smoked but I'm 21 and also have bad lungs (asthma, and they are smaller than they should be because I'm premature). I was always anti running as I was so much slower than everyone at school and had no stamina.

After running since August I honestly feel so much fitter, can run 30 mins without stressing now and have run a few 5ks :) My lungs feel so much stronger, you realise if you take it at your own pace (you may be slower than others), you will still improve enormously with training! Its so rewarding :)

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I was a preemie too (24weeks and 6days gestation so have that exact same problem....lungs not quite the right size!!!

All the best people were preemies ;-) born fighters xxx

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Wow, that is awesome, good for u deciding to do the programme! I was reasonably unfit before doing C25K, did some walking and cycling but nothing else. I struggled to run for 1 minute and still remember thinking a 5 minute run was going to kill me. The body is amazing and the programme is perfect to help us improve our fitness and my lung capacity is so improved, hope you feel the benefit very soon


Your lungs will thank you and C25k will get you breathing deep for sure. 2.5k in 13 minutes is a pretty good pace, but at 25 you should be able to get there. Don't be disheartened if your pace is not up at that level to start with, you will make it with determination and hard work. I can just about do that, at very nearly sixty, thanks to this amazing programme and the support that comes from this forum.

Welcome and good luck.


Thank you :-) it's about 12km/hr pace!!! But I know lots of people who can do it....so I think of it as I do when I was learning to drive all those years ago, "if lots of people can do it, it can't be that difficult" just a case of learning how to breathe and run at the same time :-) will keep everyone updated!


Wow thank you for all the replies everyone! That's a nicer and better response for a first post than I thought!!

I have a way to go, but at the moment learning how to breathe and run at the same time..... I hope/know I'll get there!!

I'm finding at the moment, my legs find it easy...my lungs no so much. So for week three ive found 90seconds easy, the first three minutes harder, the Middle 90 secs easy and the last 3minites a easier until the last minute!!

When/if you guys use a treadmill, (I'm running outside at the moment but do have a gym membership too!) do you find the speeding up/slowing down on the treadmill adds to your time any? Not a bad thing though....but I feel (when I have ran on a treadmill in the past) that it takes me longer to speed up/slow down on a treadmill than it does "in real life" outdoors.

Omgosh, I found the best ever feeling the other day, better than any cigarette could ever recreate - going for a run in the cold and then coming in and jumping in the bath afterwards.... Aahhhhh :-)

Will keep you all posted!

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It's funny, as at the moment I'm having the opposite problem- my lungs are coping but my legs are struggling on and off with shin splints. I've come to the conclusion that consistency (ie. keep getting out there) is the best way to keep improving your leg strength or your lungs.

Some people find steadying their breath by taking one breath every three steps (or whatever fits your pattern), and other people recommend 'belly breaths' and making sure you are breathing right down with your abdomen muscles. While practising how to breath while running it is ok to take it a bit slower, and once you have a rhythm/technique, speed it up again.

On the other hand some people just find letting them find a natural comfortable breathing without thinking about it is much easier than trying to count steps or anything! I would say give both a try and choose which works for you. But also know that it will get easier the more you get out there!

Also, the feeling after a run is SO good because you feel pleased with yourself but also you get the benefit of being smug as you got out running unlike all those others who are yet to find c25k love!


I gave up smoking 25 years ago at age 36. What did it was that I lost my dad at 68 due to stroke,atherosclerosis, contributed by smoking rollups for 55 years & poor diet lack of excercise.

But I put weight on and was never a big excerciser, and never enjoyed sport much, but a friend of mine got me into c25k and I haven't looked back, breathing is so much better and losing weight with regular running. My wife says I've now stopped snoring! probably due to weight loss and improved breathing, not that you'll lose much weight if any while on the programme.

It'll be tough for you at first, but your young and would think you'd pickup quickly, go for it! You've nothing to lose and everything to gain and a career in The RAF.. good luck!

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