Post # 1
I’ve never been a runner. I just can’t do it. I get sharp pains in my ribs and am gasping and weezing for air. I’ve been like this since I was a child. I can run maybe 100 feet before I’m ready to fall over.
Granted I am a smoker atm but hopefully I will be able to stop on my planned day (December 21st) so I’m sure this really contributes to my breathing issues while running. But like two years ago Fiance and I were out on a farm looking for a historic building (we’re history hunters) and we hear dogs. After just a few months prior being cornered by 5 dogs and chased into the water (in the middle of February) to walk a mile to escape the dogs, I had an extreme fear at that time) so the dogs start running toward us at the farm and Fiance and I take off running to the car. I get about 200 feet (meanwhile thinking I’m about to be attacked by a pack of dogs, I was in serious fear) and I couldn’t go any further. I had to stop running and force myself to walk. It took me nearly 30 minutes for my breathing to get back to normal. It was bad. I couldn’t even run to save myself.
About 6 years ago I started to try to run, as a hobby. I would run as far as I could and stop and speed walk until I could run again, run then speed walk until I could run again. I did this every day for like 3 weeks and it never got easier, I was never able to go longer before having to stop, it never got easier to breathe and the pain always happened the same.
I’ve always wanted to be a runner. When I see people running on the streets I get jealous. Ever since I was a child I wanted to run but I just couldn’t (and of course this was before I started smoking). I’ve never in my life been good at running, it’s always been so hard. But I wanted so bad to be on the track team in high school, I always wanted to start my morning with a long run. But I can’t do it.
So anyways, the reason for this rediculously long post… I need tips to run. I’ve been gaining weight and I started doing the bike thing at the gym and some leg lifts but I’d really like to just be able to run instead to keep myself in shape and healthy. Any tips or advice on how to start running for someone who has never been able to, someone who feels like they are going to fall over from pain and breathing troubles after just a few feet?
My doctor says I need to start exercising so I should be able to run. He says it will help with my migraines so my health isn’t an issue when it comes to if I should run or not… I don’t think…
Post # 3
I am jealous of good runners (and their lean legs!) too. 🙁
I have flat feet, and this really makes it super hard for me to run for long periods of time or at really high speeds. I also tend to get flank pain when I run really fast for a few minutes. I noticed this flank pain was more frequent when I used to smoke occasionally. All these problems don’t stop me from going to the gym though.. I like to alternate using a stepper machine, elliptical and the treadmill.
When I’m on the treadmill, I run at a fairly quick pace (faster than normal jog) for as long as I can endure.. then I start alternating speed walking for 1 min then sprint 1 min.. for the rest of the 30-45 minutes. I read that this is a pretty effective way of exercising on the treadmill actually. Whatever keeps your heart rate up and pumping! It’s also always good to mix in some weights and circuit training to your routine instead of just cardio. Lifting weights burns more calories in a short amount of time (even when the body is at rest) than cardio alone.
Also, I nosh on half a banana and drink a good amount of water about half hour before hitting the gym. The banana has a good amount of potassium to prevent some cramping and the hydration keeps your endurance in check.
Good luck! I’m working on my endurance too haha
Post # 4
The biggest problem I see amongst people that don’t stick to exercise regimes is that they go all out until something starts to hurt and then the next day they’re sore or they have unpleasant memories of exercising so they don’t want to do it again. It’s very difficult to convince the brain to repeat something if the brain associates the activity with pain.
My first tip would be to quit smoking. That should be your #1 priority. The pain you feel in your ribs is your lungs – smoking destroys lung tissue. Go to your doctor and discuss quit plans. It doesn’t matter how many miles you run – as a smoker you’re negating the effects of your exercise. You need to give your poor lungs a chance to recover.
Second, start slow and mix it up. Take 1 month to just walk 1 mile a day. I know it sounds simple but it’s to train your brain to anticipate moving the body on a schedule. It takes a full month to begin to establish a habit. Your only task for the month is to stick to walking every single day. Reward yourself after the month with a new outfit or a meal out or anything you’d like. The next month, walk one day and then do a very light jog the next. Alternate like that for a full month and do not go over a mile. The month after that walk one day and do light jogs for the next two days. And so on until you can build to jogging lightly every day for a full month. It might take you anywhere from 6 months to a year to comfortably jog or run 1 mile every day.
That brings my third tip- patience and attitude. My Fiance is not an athlete. Going to the gym and getting on the treadmill for him is about as pleasant as cleaning toilets is for me. When we first got together and I encouraged him to go to the gym – he said something interesting to me, “It’s so easy for you to go to the gym, you’re an athlete!”. As though I am somehow a superwoman who enjoys torturing herself. I’ve been doing sports my entire life and right now I run 15 miles a week. I’m not a “natural runner”. It doesn’t come easy to me, I have disturbingly poor form as I get tired, and there has never been a day when I woke up at 5am and thought to myself “wow, I’m going to spring out of bed and go for a 3 mile run.” It was like that even when I trained for Nationals in swimming – I never ever looked forward to jumping into a freezing pool at 6am. But I did make working out a habit, like brushing my teeth before bed. That’s why teams practice at the same time every day and they keep practicing for months – because that’s how long it takes to train the brain. And then it becomes like breathing. But also, don’t have a defeatist attitude. Athletes are good to getting back up again, even when they’re not the fastest or the thinnest or the best. So you missed a day or it’s one of those days where you really don’t want to go run – learn to rest your body and get back up again the next day, not the next month.
Post # 5
Thank you both. I really appreciate the tips.
For the last two months I’ve been going to the gym. I noticed I was gaining weight and fast so I started going to the gym. I wasn’t sore at first but I wasn’t doing much at first. I’ve worked up to 30-45 minutes on the bike (12-15 miles) and about 50 of 3 different leg lifts a day. I’ve been getting sore but I always feel better after, I feel healthier. And I have more energy. I look forward to going to the gym on the days I’m not feeling lazy. I haven’t gone to the gym this week though. My daughter is in the after school program while I exercise but with the holiday she wasn’t in there so I basically used it as an excuse to not work out and take a break for a week. But I’m looking forward to getting back in there tomorrow.
I’m not trying to loose weight, I like the weight I’m at, it’s given me a chest. But I want the weight gain to stop. And I want to be able to run. I enjoy running the first 30 seconds until the pain sets in. Does the pain ever go away? When I quit smoking will it help?
I like both of your ideas. I used to go on the elliptical when I had to loose weight after my daughter. At first I could only go 3 minutes before collapsing. After a couple months I was up to 30 minutes at a time at a steady jog/run. But I didn’t try to run at that time, I didn’t have a jogging stroller and of course couldn’t leave my daughter at home alone.
Maybe I’ll start the elliptical in my gym routines, they don’t have a treadmil. And I like the idea of walking. I should get another stroller for my daughter so I can take her on walks with me. Start with a walk and work my way up. Or perhaps wake up early in the morning before she does and go for my walk before my Fiance leaves to work. It takes a while for me to wake up in the mornings, I’m hoping starting with a run will start my day off right.
Thank you both for your tips, they are really helpful
Post # 6
As a sometimes smoker and huge running fan, you have to stop smoking. Not only are your lungs stuck at 30% but you really don’t get enough oxygen to support your muscles for a run. What you can do to condition in preparation for Dec 21 (yay!!) is start regularly strength training. This will help your run, promise. Plus strength training actually continues to burna calories when resting, unlike running. For cardio, you can totally do incline speed waking on a treadmill if you have access to one. Im talking 4.5-8 incline at least at 3.5 mph. This is what I do when I relapse at smoking for a few weeks an it helps me prepare when I pull the cig put of my mouth. Also, talk to your doc as you probably have exersice induced asthma. An inhaler 5 minutes before running was super helpful.
ETA: I see that you only have an elliptical. Those things are super hard for me. I can run for an hour and only do the elliptical for 10 minutes. Try to out as low as you cansand build slowly otherwise you might get overwhelmed and quit after 10 min like me. 😉
Post # 7
Not sure if anybody suggested this, but the Couch to 5k (C25K) program got me where I am today. I have asthma and was never able to run for a minute straight now, I’ll go out and jog for 30 minutes without stopping. The key for me was to do some form of cardio on the off days. I went to a 30 minute cardio class on my off days and thats what did the trick for me. I had tried the C25K program several times and failed before I did cardio on off days.
Post # 8
So what constitutes cardio? Would the elliptical be better than the bike? What are other forms of cardio? Our gym is very small and has only an elliptical the bikes and the rest weights.
Post # 9
i will second the couch to 5k. I could previously not even jog slowly for 60 seconds and am now, 8 weeks later, jogging for 25 minutes straight and could probably go longer.
Unlike the above poster, the key for me was to NOT work out on my rest days. I would hit the gym Mon-Wed-Fri and not work out at all on tues/thurs, and then would sometimes do weights on the weekends. If I did cardio on Tue/Thurs I was sure to not be able to complete the run. Too much too soon, as they say.
You can do it! I too was someone who smoked and has always idolized runners but really thought I just couldn’t do it… if I can do it, you can too!
Post # 10
Congratulations on your desire to get healthier! Another great resource is the book “Running for Mortals” by John Bingham and his wife, Jenny Hadfield. I used that book and a sequel “Marathoning for Mortals” to run my first half-marathon the year I turned 50. I was slow, but I made it and it was truly a life-changing experience. Another tip that helped me run without chest pain in spite of my asthma is to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. It takes some practice, but will eliminate side stitches and other ill effects of improper breathing. I time my breathing with my steps – three in, three out. Hope that helps!
Post # 11
Thank you ladies! Great advice and I think I’m going to use a little of each. For this last month of smoking I’ll start with walking a mile every morning. Hopefully it will help me wake up and have energy throughout the day. I’m gonna give the elliptical another go. I was able to build up my endurance for that so hopefully I can again.
I’ve tried breathing in the nose and out the mouth but it’s hard to continue it, before I know it I’m breathing through my mouth the whole time and didn’t even notice but I’ll try to keep an eye on that.
I don’t really want to work out my upper body but I will also continue doing the weights in the gym with my legs. I’m also trying to find a way to get rid of the arm and armpit fat without getting rid of my chest so if there are any tips there I’d love to hear them 🙂
Post # 12
@pinkgreenandyellow: Working your upper body with weights won’t make you loose the awesome bubbies you have going on. Significantly losing weight will, though. I think a mix of cardio and upper body strength will help with the armpit area. And honestly, you’re not going to get the results that you want without it. You can lose weight but you won’t tone up the muscle in that area that would keep it taught. Know what I mean? Just don’t do any shoulder lifts or do any large (25lb+) weight on upper body and you’ll be able to tone and not build too much. I’m excited for you! Make sure you take before and after pics. Once you start seeing results you’ll feel more validated that you’re doing the right thing. 🙂
Post # 13
Third vote for couch to 5k; you can follow that program, or one of the many like it, that start out with very minimal running. When I got back into running this time, after having taken a break for a couple years, I started with intervals of slow running for 30 seconds and walking for 2 minutes, repeating this for about 30 minutes 3-4 times per week. Once you can do the 30 second run, up it to 45 seconds and decrease the walking time. See if you can find a local running club, too; you can connect with other runners of all levels and get great in-person advice about form, workouts, gear, etc. Plus, there are often running coaches that participate in the clubs and you might have an easier time progressing and sticking with it if you have a coach for a couple months.