Graduated - what next for this overweight smoker?

Hi - I completed the program on Friday - yay!!!!!! I am super pleased as I started at a whopping 8 and a half stone over my ideal weight, a 20 a day smoker with asthma who hadn't exercised in over 10 years (I've now dropped 3 stone and consistently losing weight!)....I realise it's a great achievement but.......I ran it very slowly (which I also know is fine) but I want to be quicker..I've been running it on a treadmill at 3.6mph which, obviously is nowhere near a 5k in 30 minutes. Now, my question is does anyone have any tips on how to speed up? (I know Stepping Stones exists but from the comments I'm guessing this will be too much for me). I tried running at 4.5 mph today and managed 9 mins, rest for 2 and then another 3...however my chest was unbelievably tight and I was very out of breath (thanks fags and asthma). Do you think it would be worth re-doing the C25k program and starting at a quicker pace (say 4mph to start) and building up my stamina from there or just keep running quicker in short bursts? Got an asthma review this week as exercise defo makes it worse so will be getting better inhalers for the asthma......(yes, I do realise I'm an idiot for smoking when I have asthma!)

25 Replies

  • I'm in the same boat as you. I graduated on Friday and 'run' at a very similar pace to you. Like you I am unsure of what to do next, I am a 66 year old female so guess I'm never going to reach great speeds but I would dearly love to do 5k in 30 minutes but not sure if that is achievable. I look forward to reading replies to your post! Definitely need sone 'structure' to post graduate running to motivate me.

  • is totally achievable...but in your own time..literally. Steady and slow and build up to it.. :)

    I graduated doing 5K when I was 65.... last christmas :) ( The reason I did that was, I thought you had to do 5K by the time you completed the programme ..duh !)

    Congratulations on your Graduation too! :)

    So.. what next... C25K+.. Stepping stones, Speed and Stamina podcasts.. the links are here... all good fun and will help in all sorts of ways...

    Lots of us have used them and we still do.. mixing, matching and adding onto our runs...

    I am 66 now.. running 9K..heading for 10K, but slowly and in my own way... I have speedy-sih runs, but mostly I just enjoy my runs and take everything in, and then bore everyone with my rambles when i post :)

    So... the running goes on... your way? :)

  • Well done 👍

  • Well done!!! What a brilliant result I think your idea is great to repeat the programme at a faster place as long as you do it gradual and go by your Drs advise I'm new to programme & just on week 6 run 2 completed so you are keeping me motivated to continue & I'm a slow runner so I am looking forward to the advise you receive for after the 9 weeks😊keep up the good work and your successful journey to a healthier lifestyle... Well done😊👍

  • Congratulations Graduate! Well done...:)

    Are you still smoking... ? You say, you know that it is not a good plan.. so no lectures :)

    There is a plan and it can work.. see my reply to Charliedodd ..

    C25K+.. Stepping stones, Speed and Stamina podcasts.. the linke are here... all good fun and will help in all sorts of ways...

    Many of us used them and we still do.. mixing, matching and adding onto our runs...

    I think Stamina could help you...but take it very, very slowly... the whole joy of this journey is, it is yours.. your path and no-one else's. You can take advice, from the folk on here who are fantastic... but you do it in your way... and in your own time.

    You have done brilliantly... don't give up... ( unless it is the cigarettes ) :)

  • First of all congratulations! My advice for speeding up would be to do something called fartleks - which is basically run- run faster- run sessions but stepping up from 3.6mph to 4.5mph is too big a jump. Try the program again but with running at your normal speed instead of walking and running at 3.8 - 4 mph on the running bits. You can the repeat a bit faster each time. Best of luck

  • To run faster,run further. It will build your stamina and general fitness.

  • Thanks for your responses, will check out the links suggested by old floss and begin to plan my next phase. For me it is important to set goals otherwise I will just drift!

  • Well done on your graduation.

    I have yet to graduate, so Icannot join. But Iwas informed about the 'Quest' club I guess, where you set a target for six weeks and discuiss how oyu are getting on, with the same sort of support from the forum that the c25k peeeps offered.

    There have been some good suggestions, and so decide which one is for you and join the Quest. I am sure some one can point you in the right direction :)


  • Thanks will do some research

  • Found this, no idea if it's any use to you 😀🏃🏻

  • Thanks, will take a look at this.

  • Thanks will take a look at this.

  • Thanks Suzieblue x

  • Well done, you've overcome the worst part. Now to build up some speed, if you can run for 30 minutes, try 4x5mins at a pace slightly above your current level. Mix that with some more 30 minute runs at your level pace and once you are happy with the 4 x5's you can move up to either 5x5's at the same pace or 4x5's a bit quicker. The aim is to increase either pace or distance but not both at the same time, that way lies injury or disappointment. Good luck

  • Congratulations- great achievement on all fronts! There are many ways to build speed - all mentioned above. Whatever you do, find what suits you and just build gradually. Your stamina will continue to increase.

    Good luck!

  • Congrats on completing the programme and becoming a graduate and well done on the weight loss too :-) There's some great advice here already so just try some of the suggestions and find what is good for you.....Good luck :-)

  • Ditch the fags and your speed will improve. You know it makes sense. Ditch the dreadmill at the same time

    Get out into some fresh air ☺

  • Ahhh if only it was that easy! But you are steps with me I'm afraid...

  • It's much easier than you might think; take it from someone who went from two packs per day to zero overnight. All you need is the right incentive (for me it was an economic incentive; I fell in love with SCUBA diving and I stopped smoking as a way to save money to buy the necessary equipment).

  • I've tried and failed lots over the years, patches, cold turkey, vaping, being broke, hypnotism, Alan Carr book....I think if I'm honest I don't really want to give up (but guilt gets to me and I try). I really hope one day that something "snaps" and I will stop smoking. Maybe being as unfit as I am will be the final nail in the fag smoking coffin lol :)

  • Here's what I did. I smoked at least 20 a day for over thirty years and had 'given up trying to give up' years before. I am now three years smoke free and it was rather easy after a mere three or four days at the beginning.

    what happened was - I got hit with a bill for over a thousand dollars through my own stupidity. The only way I could recoup that was by cutting back on something and the only way to do that was to quit spending money on ciggies.

    I had read some years earlier that the Psychological craving only lasts three minutes. After those three minutes its all 'habit' - you fidget, you obsess about lighting up etc but it's really all in the mind. (Just like I daydream about sweeping Raquel Welch off her feet :) )

    So - I got an old cigar box and wrapped it absolutely in layers of very strong Duct tape, and cut a very narrow slot in it. This gave me a very secure 'piggy bank'

    I then bought what has become my 'Famous Kitchen Timer' (I use it for running now :) ) It is small and very easy to set and read and is foolproof. It counts down to zero and then beeps.

    I set it for FOUR minutes. Figured I needed - with my habit that extra minute.

    Then the process began.

    Every time I wanted to light a cigarette I would hit the 'start' button.


    I have little willpower and was certainly not going to put all THAT pressure on myself - because 'no way' would I last.

    Heck - I figured I'd be lucky enough to last a week based on other attempts (and I tried them all at some stage or another)

    Well - the first three or four days were rough and I was going around beeping like an anemic Dalek. I hitthat button a TON of times.

    However - I really did not want to light up each time it would count down....not for a while. And when the craving did hit I would start the timer again...and it would be a tiny bit longer while before I would have to hit it again...

    The second part of the plan was - each night I put roughly what I figured cigarettes for the day would have cost me in my super secure piggy bank.

    I had the date I started written all over it and the deal was - no way would I open it for one year.

    This second part came in handy later. After a few weeks I started forgetting the Timer because I really did not get hit with the cravings - and when I did every random now and then OR, more dangerously, when in a 'trigger' situation I would not light up because now I was 'addicted' to the speculation and curiosity of just how much cash would be in the piggy bank at the end of the year. :)

    By the end of the year I had kind of fallen out of the habit of putting cash in it every single night but still put in a wedge to keep things going every now and then.

    I opened it and had 1400 dollars and change, roughly what I expected but still a darn nice sum to actually have all in one lump sum :)

    I maybe want a cigarette nowadays every four or five months but it is such a fleeting thought and has no attraction at all really - more like a memory, though it's getting harder and harder to imagine I actually had that filthy and expensive and inconvenient habit all those decades.

    I never thought I was going to be able to quit - and had actually stopped bothering myself about it because I had tried so many things so often to quit and just-could-not-stay-off-them.

    Anyway - that's how I did it. It might work for you. And you have the added incentive of it making your running a hell of a lot more comfortable :)

    Best wishes.

  • Quitting the fags and continuing the weight loss will obviously lead to a performance increase but at this stage you don't need to do much more than develop a habit of regular 30 minute runs to see speed improvements. There have been various studies about how long it takes for new behaviours to become ingrained and the results vary from person to person but you can pretty much guarantee that for most people, following a structured 9 week beginners course does result in habitual change. So I suggest you stick with 30 minutes of running, 3 times a week till it feels like second nature. Then evaluate your performance and decide what you want to do next, e.g. longer distances, improve speed over 5K etc. There are many programs out there that will take you on to the next part of your running journey but that all important core fitness that you get from regular running is the first step. Good luck!

  • Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions...definitely gonna keep up the running....I love the battle with my mind and overcoming the nagging voice that tells me to stop....Will experiment a bit over the coming weeks and see what happens...I'll keep you all updated on the progress (and if I ever run outside!) :) :)

  • Also asthmatic and former smoker, gave up overnight once I made the decision to do so. I'm not sure there is really much point getting better inhalers when you are making the situation worse by smoking, but you already know that.

    However on the running front I would go for a 10% increase on distance week on week to build strength and stamina. As you get stronger you should be able to up the pace. For me I would look to run outside because that will also help with strength, it is a very different experience to a treadmill. Things like the uneven surfaces, undulating routes, sunshine, wind and rain all help you build strength.

    I would also look to see if there are any local running groups you can join, mutual support is a great motivator.

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