I am a computer science major. All I do is stay seated and code, 24/7, which made me a nocturnal,obnoxious, and anti-social creature. I want to make a change in my sedentary lifestyle.

I want to run on a regular basis and make it a habit. To note, I'm a heavily caffeinated creature and I smoke a wide range of stuff. I tried running a couple of times and I run out of breath. However, each time I run, I feel so exuberant and my inclination to smoking and cigarettes get exceptionally reduced.

I want to get rid of smoking, run each morning, but perhaps I could never get rid of coffee. My question is, after getting all in-depth context about me, how long and how often should I run? Each day? What time? Early in the morning? Without or with breakfast? How long? 30 minutes? 1 hour? I live in a school that's on a mountain.I enjoy walking quietly but now I want to enjoy running quietly.

  • 1
    Kudos on putting yourself out there. 1st enjoy outdoors. Then sleep well. Also eat yummy good food: complex carbs, fiber, good fats and last but not least protein. References: reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/4jiq5p by callthebluff user
    – nilon
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 16:40
  • About the smoking thing, quitting altogether would be best. The first weeks are the hardest, but be wary of unexpected triggers, even after months, that could make you yearn for a cigarette again. If the nicotine dependence gets the best of you, I just wanna let you know using a vaporizer may help. I've been using a personal vaporizer to keep me away from the death sticks. Major improvement to my condition.
    – G_H
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 13:05
  • Just to add to @G_H comment on smoking: I've heard they're some great cell phone apps that help you keep check of your improvement since the first time you leave cigarrettes. And then it goes on building up on better health. Even if I'm not a fan of microsoft I've heard very good reviews on kicksmoking. Best!
    – nilon
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 13:32

4 Answers 4


Your question is pretty subjective, because nobody can tell you how much to run, or whether or not you'll even enjoy it as a regular activity. Same with diet and time of day, that's all personal and you'll have to determine it for yourself.

The first item that I would stress (Other than your already recognized need to quit smoking), is that given your history and sedentary lifestyle, is to make an appointment with a doctor and let them know your proposed workout regimen. They can do a physical exam, and let you know if it's safe to start exercising.

Once that is done, what I would recommend for you initially is a program called "Couch to 5k", which is a program designed to take people that are not runners to a level where they are capable of running a 5k (Just a little over 3 miles). (The link also has an associated app). By the time you get to that point, you will know whether you really enjoy running, or it's just the endorphins produced with exercise.

If you find you don't enjoy running, that's ok. Try biking. Swimming. Hiking, whatever. Find an exercise/activity that you enjoy doing, because if you enjoy it you are much more likely to keep with it, and that's the name of the game.

  • I feel ashamed but I can't swim, I don't bike.Throughout my life I have been a couch potato. Commented May 21, 2016 at 1:32
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    @Afif Nothing to be ashamed about, because you're taking the first step to change. All the best!!
    – Tim Malone
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 3:02
  • 1
    Agreed. Never be ashamed because you haven't learned something. Look at all the stuff you have to look forward to!
    – JohnP
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 3:39
  • @Afif Jon give you an excellent advice think about what sport you would like to practice and do it.
    – kifli
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 15:23
  • 2
    Figure presenting yourself: Hi, I'm an ex-couch potato. Kinda cool and funny! :)
    – nilon
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 13:33

I have never smoked but know runners that do or used to. Running may not make you quit smoking immediately but as you increase your mileage you will want to more and more. I know a lot of smokers who run short distances but very few who run long distances regularly.

Don't worry about your caffeine addiction, many runners have one and there is no consensus that it will harm your running. In fact some may feel the opposite:


For a beginner like yourself I would suggest a program like couch to 5k (c25k), which will involve a combination of running and walking at first. Over time your running duration will increase. Do no worry about running fast now. You need to build you endurance for which speed work it not required.


You should consider getting into a sport that involves other people as well. Running is great, but unless you have a running budy, it's yet another lonely activity where you need to rely on your own discipline. Everyone can get started, do a few runs and feel good. The hardest part of running as an exercise is the discipline involved with doing it regularly "in the long run". Getting out of bed when you don't feel like it, skipping a few days because of the rain, etc.

There is something to be said for meeting people at a set time and training together. Having a place where people expect you to show up gives you extra motivation for those days when you don't feel like training, and also provides some measure of social life, which is kind of nice when you're spending most of your time alone with the computer (same story here).

Team sports are great, but it's tricky to integrate a team for real when you are way out of shape.

My best advice would be looking into martial arts like Judo or BJJ. It might sound rough, but it's actually quite fun, and you'll find that the same qualities that make a computer nerd also make a BJJ/Judo nerd.


I'm kind of the in same boat as you and I would reccomend buying a single speed bike to get your fitness up and then start running.

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