New to SLOW JOGGING? Find out why smiling is a crucial part of the training and what you need to start your own slow journey.


Until recently unknown outside of Japan, now gaining more and popularity worldwide, slow jogging is a method of running elaborated by Hiroaki Tanaka, Professor at Fukuoka University, Japan. The term “slow jogging” was chosen to emphasize, that even though we are talking about a sport traditionally associated with moving fast, slow can be a perfectly good way to do it.

Since as early as 1970s, prof. Tanaka has been researching how exercise of low intensity but performed regularly, can help our health in many aspects, from obesity and metabolic syndrome to other diseases of affluence.

These days you can see people slow jogging everywhere in Japan. Many of them are the elderly, moving at 3-5km/h, which for most of us can be even slower than walking speed. There are also the busy Japanese, who already know that even short periods of exercise a few times a day can be beneficial to their health. Finally, there are experienced runners, who now alternate intense training with slow jogging, giving their bodies a chance to recover and remind themselves of the pure joy of running in fresh air, long forgotten somewhere in the tight training schedule.


Slow pace & smile

No matter how low your fitness level is, it’s very unlikely to be low enough to disqualify you from running. However, it can be, and often is, too low to run fast. That is why we will try to convince you to start slowly – really slowly. Be warned – it’s highly possible, that you will be overtaken by surprised walkers.

The key to success is to keep your niko niko pace. Niko niko means “smile” in Japanese and here defines an easy pace, that you can keep with a smile. What’s important – niko niko pace can be very different for each one of us.

It happens, that an unfit 20 year-old has a niko niko pace similar to that of an average 70 year-old. Or the opposite – a 70 year-old marathon fan can run as much as 8 to 10km per hour at his niko niko pace!

In scientific terms, niko niko pace is the pace, we can keep without significantly exceeding our lactate threshold. A much easier estimation is possible with Borg scale. At the subjective scale of perceived extortion of 6 to 20, 6 signifies rest, whereas 20 is equivalent to maximal effort. Repeating short runs at different speeds, we try to find out what pace corresponds to our 10-12 degrees on the scale, remember it and then aim at this pace when jogging. For those with the lowest fitness level, it’s usually around 4 km/h.


The easiest way is to listen to you body. If you are out of breath and not able to have a conversation, you should slow down – simple as that. Slow down to be able to talk at ease or if you are running alone – sing your favorite songs. For those of you who are at the beginning of their jogging adventure, niko niko pace will probably be lower than walking speed – we suggest to start at 3-5 km/h. On you first days, try a combination of 1min slow jogging and 30s walking.
And don’t forget to smile!

Want to know more? Contact us and in the meantime check out our book: SLOW JOGGING. Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running. 


2 thoughts on “New to SLOW JOGGING? Find out why smiling is a crucial part of the training and what you need to start your own slow journey.

    • The general rule says that if you don’t have troubles/pain walking, slow jogging should be fine. Just start really slow and maybe so the jogging & walking combination first (1min jog & 30s walk). All the best!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s