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View Full Version : Effects of cigarette smoking on threshold/heart rate?


Randy Gurley
08-13-2010, 08:44 PM
Alright guys, I feel like an idiot for asking this but I would like opinions, I wouldn't post this on Lyle's forum due to the criticism I would probably get.
I smoked for 5 years, quit for 5 years, then started smoking again about 4 years ago. My cardio up until the last 2 months was long, slow distance, 5 to 6 mph, I could go 13-14 miles no problem during the winter at that speed. For the last two months, I've been getting serious about increasing speed and endurance. I got Daniels Running Formula, and began playing with threshold training, using my first 5K time.
From a few studies I've read, smoking causes a lower VO2 Max, which would in effect lower the intensity it would take for me to reach lactate threshold, correct? My last 5K, I ran a pathetically slow 24:00, my heart rate was 173 a mile into it, and for the last 1.25 miles, it was low 180's and finished at 185. I've never measured my MHR but at 29 years old, I imagine it's probably in the mid 190's, running at a 7:40 pace/mile, I was running at almost 95%MHR, is that normal? I was useless after I reached the finish line, there's no way I could have gone another 3 miles if it was a 10K.
I'm seriously planning on quitting smoking very, very soon. I know I've asked enough questions, but do you guys think I should drop the higher intensity work until I quit, or years after I quit? Do you think I can improve, or will I be stuck at a certain intensity? It's hot here in Mississippi now, and the heat is only increasing my heart rate even more, I just wonder if what I'm doing is even worth the effort. Thanks for any advice, as much as I can't stand Runner World forums, a few searches there turned up some people claiming they personally knew people who smoked and ran some crazy fast times, like smoking didn't affect their speed. Maybe I just need lots of improvement?

Darryl Shaw
08-14-2010, 02:58 AM
There's no need to overthink this one, just quit smoking and get back to some serious training.

John Utter
09-22-2010, 11:31 AM
I agree. In the long run, giving up smoking is always worth it, not matter what you have to change to your routine, or what you might not be able to do anymore.

Garrett Smith
09-22-2010, 11:39 AM
The way I've always seen it, is that one of your two pursuits is going to win--smoking or running. The two don't happily co-exist with each other for very long.

Hacking up a lung after high-intensity work would be a bad sign.

Steven Low
09-22-2010, 01:17 PM
Your body can heal up damage to an extent.... after that you're permanently damaging yourself. The threshold is pretty low for smoking since its a pretty detrimental activity in the first place.

Just quit and go from there.

Adrian Miles
09-23-2010, 12:27 AM
Seriously make quitting your priority. Smoking is just so very bad on so many levels. Worst decision I ever made was start smoking. Best one was quitting.

Kevin Shaughnessy
09-23-2010, 12:07 PM
I smoked for 4 years and quit about 3 years ago. What worked very well for me was to cut back slowly over a period of a couple months down to 2, then 1, and finally zero. Barely had any physical cravings.

Kevin Perry
09-23-2010, 01:41 PM
I smoked for 4 years and quit about 3 years ago. What worked very well for me was to cut back slowly over a period of a couple months down to 2, then 1, and finally zero. Barely had any physical cravings.

This is what i've been doing just really cutting back, staying busy keeps the cravings away too. Then again, I don't smoke as much as a lot of people do so cravings are not that bad for me.