A new friend, a book and a chat!

Hi Guys,

today I like to take the opportunity to introduce new friends and a book to you! Afterwards we even get to have a little chat.

Meet my new slow jogging friends

magdaLet me introduce Magda!

Magda works with Hiroaki Tanaka, professor at the Faculty of Sports and Health Science at Fukuoka University in Japan. She comes from my neighbour country Poland! She is around my age and loves plant-based food! How cool is that?

Stick with me it gets even better. Magda loves running, slow running. She works in Sports Science, has run ultras and helped Professor Tanaka write and bring his book to the English speaking world. A book I hear you say? I’ve got your attention now I know.

Now let’s meet Professor Hiroaki Tanaka:


Hiroaki Tanaka, Ph.D. and Professor at Fukuoka University, Japan, is the founder and director of its Institute for Physical Activity. Born in 1947, he is a forever-young author of numerous books on slow jogging and healthy lifestyle. This surprisingly efficient training method, a result of many years of research, helped him complete a marathon in 2:38:50 at the age of 50. Known as Japan’s running guru, the legendary scientist has inspired runners all throughout his country, from elite long-distance runners to the elderly and those suffering from lifestyle diseases, to slow down and jog with a smile for a health body and mind. 

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of slow running. I jump at every opportunity to read and learn more about it, I do my own experiments and love to share what I learn. There aren’t that many books on the topic and some of the books are quite radical in areas like diet and “off the charts” for my taste. So far I had not come across a book that sums it all up in an easy format and offers a balanced approach, while also including scientific backing. There always had been something I completely disagree with or just couldn’t see the way the author did, not enough proof or lacking information in important areas.

A new Book!

I’m excited to say this changed with the book “Slow Jogging”. You can read the introductory chapter for free, be warned if you buy it via the link, I’ll get insanely rich via Amazon commissions and spend all my new found riches on new running shoes!


Why am I excited about the book? Before I “met” Magda, I wasn’t aware that there are people actually running slow – intentionally – like me and enjoy it … IN PUBLIC!!! Or that it’s “a thing” in Japan and starting to become more and more popular all over the world!

The book offers a balanced scientific approach that reflects my own experiences. Multiple times, while reading I had to say “oh yes that’s what happened to me!”. I like the fact, that it offers sound diet recommendations, instead of the shifting of ratios between carbs/fat and protein, which in the end just means a more complicated way to count calories to achieve a deficit.

I also got a kick out of the fact, that the author “gets” that some people don’t eat a huge breakfast and enjoy the comfort of a satisfying dinner! Little gems like this make the book just lovable!

Who is this book for?

I’d say it is targeted towards beginners, people interested in the benefits of slow running. It also includes information for more experienced marathoners. For example it mentions carb loading, but with a twist! (I won’t spoil it, you got to get the book or ask Magda below in the comments!

You can also get a proper, more detailed review of the book at Dr. Mark’s website under http://naturalrunningcenter.com/2016/07/15/slow-jogging-health-pain/, he also wrote the foreword to the book.

A little Chat

Instead of heading out for a slow jog with Professor Tanaka, Magda agreed to answer any questions we (my blogging family and myself) have. How cool is that?!

SRG: “What goes through your head when you are running slow and get overtaken by a walker? Or if that doesn’t happen to you anymore, maybe you can share what others experienced there?”

Magda: “After several years of slow jogging experience, my pace is not-that-extremely-slow anymore. It’s not fast by any means, but usually I don’t get overtaken by walkers anymore. I did happen in the past – while a bit embarrassing at first, it became part of the fun. I used to count how many walkers I was overtaken by in a given slow jogging session 😉 Also, in Japan we have cute t-shirts with a turtle logo that say “You go first. I’m slow jogging here.” on the back :)”

SRG: “I want that t-shirt!”

“Any research going on right now in the area of slow running that we want to know about?”

Magda: “Right now our research is focusing on the elderly – their pace is really slow, but still the interval slow jogging (1min slow jogging and 30s walking: super easy even for the least fit ones) helps to induce PGC-1 mRNA and increase muscle volume.”

SRG: “You recommend to run even slower than anyone else! I know this shocks everyone. Can you explain this?”

Magda: “Well, our average fitness level now is critically low, lowest in human history. Running that used to be an obvious and indispensable activity in our lives, became a super high-intensity exercise for many. By making is slow – even slower than generally recommended – we are making it accessible even to the most anti-running individuals.
Also, the benefits from running really slow are not very different from running faster (in terms of both calorie expenditure and general health improvements) so why not go slow enough to enjoy it?”

SRG: “The book states that no warm-up is required. I notice if I don’t walk for up to 15 minutes before I start running that there is a heart-rate spike. Am I running to fast initially or generally?”

Magda: “It might mean the pace your start with is relatively fast. Try doing your initial 15 minutes at your regular walking pace – but jogging – and let me know how it went!”

SRG: “I will do that! Thanks for the tip.”
“I’m struggling immensely with keeping a cadence of 180 while running slow, you also recommend this in the book. Do you have any tips on how to improve it?”
Magda: “We hear it a lot. It’s usually related to a wide stride – try taking really small steps, say 1/3 of your regular walking/running steps. Also, forefoot landing naturally makes your stride shorter.”

SRG:Thank you so much Magda, for taking the time to answer all my questions. Now you can head out for your run!”


Guys, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below! It’s really rare to have access to so much knowledge and I’m sure you appreciate it as much as I do.

I will try and add Magda here, so she can respond to any questions.


Why I run slow – Benefits of Slow Running

As you all know, I’m quite obsessed with slow running and since I am doing recovery week, I get to spend my “running” time writing about running. Today I thought about the benefits of slow running and what I’ve learned over the past year. Here we go:

I want to become better at running. As research has shown, the more you run the better one gets. This starts way back with Arthur Lydiard. So how can I run more? I noticed, that once I ran over one hour, three times per week, I felt tired afterwards and didn’t have too much energy left for the rest of the day. I did some research and read all the books I could get my hands on. This is what lead me to slow running.

It is actually quite simple. No matter what the plans are, be it to run a 5k or a marathon, we will need a good “aerobic” system. If I partake in a longer event, I have a higher need for aerobic energy. In a marathon, 2.5%1 come from the anaerobic system – in a 5k it is already around 16%1.

As the word “aerobic” suggests, it all relates to oxygen and having enough of it. When running “aerobically” it means there is enough oxygen for the body to do all the work. If not, I am running “anaerobically” and produce debt (which ends in a big fat wall). I do like the comparison Matt Fitzgerald uses in his book “Iron War”: burning matches!

Let’s assume, that unlike in real life, before we can produce any debt, or burn matches, we have to collect some first. Running aerobically, or easy or slow or whatever we call it, will achieve this.

For me the questions became: “If I run slow enough – can I run more?” and “Why should I want that?”

This is what I found out:

I need a better Engine – Better Blood, Muscles, more Energy and better conversion ratios

More Capillaries

Capillaries deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissue and take away waste. Slow running increases their number. This is also another benefit actually, as slow running speeds up recovery and repairs micro-tears caused by fast running.

Better Muscle Fibers

Slow Running increases the Myoglobin content (protein that binds the oxygen) in the muscles and therefore gives your muscles more oxygen.

Better and more Mitochondria

Mitochondria are inside the muscle cells and they are the ones that produce the needed energy (ATP). Slow running increases their number as well as their size.

Use more Fat for Fuel

In the 1930s “The Crossover Theory” was developed and later led to research on aerobic training in relation to fat burning.

“The Crossover Concept holds that during post-absorptive resting conditions, in muscle and at the whole body in general, fats are the major fuel sources. But, as exercise intensity increases, in working muscle there occurs a switch (Crossover) from dependence on fats to carbohydrate energy forms as fuel sources.”


Say what? It means the slower I run the more fat is burned and the faster I run the more carbs are burned! Why would I want to burn mainly fat? Well … I have enough fat with me at all times to last for a long time, but not enough carbs.

Let’s go back to the analogy of “matches”. If we say carbs are the matches I need to burn to light up my fat engine, what I want is that the one match ignites a hell of a signal fire and not just a tiny flame. Slow running will help to build a stockpile of fat burning enzymes so that I can run long with the use of only a couple of matches.

How to do it – super simple trick

If I don’t have a heart rate monitor, I like to use breathing in only through the nose. That will keep me aerobic!

1 (Gastin, P.B. (2001) Energy system interaction and relative contribution during maximal exercise. Sports Medicine 31, 725-741)