Have you ever noticed that some people absolutely love getting up in the morning and heading out that door for a run, but when you ask them, they swear up and down that they hate running? They tell you they aren’t a runner – they are just going for a morning jog.
And you watch them run away, totally unconvinced. Aren’t running and jogging the same thing? Well, yes. And no.
While running and jogging are definitely intertwined, they are not one and the same. There are some fundamental differences.
Jogging vs running…
Which one are you? A jogger? A runner?
And more importantly, which one should you be? Let’s find out!
In this post, I’ll cover the differences between running and jogging and why some people insist they are not runners. And then we’ll talk about when you should run, and when you should jog.
So, let’s run through this! (pun definitely intended!)
What’s the difference between jogging and running?
Although running and jogging are pretty much the same thing, there is a slight difference between the two. In simple terms, jogging is a slower form of running. In more technical terms, though, there’s a difference in technique and pace.
But that’s pretty much it.
Jogging is slower and you bounce more on your feet. Running is, of course, faster, but you also take longer, more powerful strides.
The main goal of jogging is to increase fitness with less stress on your body. It is a leisurely run that builds aerobic fitness and endurance. Running, on the other hand, demands more from your heart, lungs and muscles. And it requires overall better fitness than jogging does.
Check out the fundamental differences between the two:
So, then, which one are you? A runner? Or a jogger?
Jogging vs running… it’s all relative
There really are some physical differences in the technique and form you use when jogging vs running, which we will cover in the next section. But mainly, it is all about what you perceive as ‘moderate intensity’ when running.
To put it into perspective for you, an average person would consider a 7 to 8 minute mile pace as running. However, an Olympic athlete definitely would not. To the athlete, a 7 to 8 minute pace would be an easy jog.
For some, a ten minute mile pace is a nice running pace, and yet, for others, a 14 minute mile pace would be considered a run. It all depends on what pace feels like a moderate intensity to you.
Some people think that you have to be super serious about running to call yourself a runner. And others think that if you are out there, moving your butt and putting one foot in front of the other, then you’ve earned the right to call yourself a runner.
It’s all relative and that is why some people refer to themselves as joggers, while others call themselves runners. The terms simply reflect how they see themselves, as athletes.
So, if your neighbor heads out for a jog every morning, but insists he hates running, then believe him! He is a jogger, even if he ‘jogs’ faster than you ‘run’.
What you call yourself is entirely up to you.
But, to help you sort it out, let’s run through the technical differences between the two, the benefits of each, and when you should run vs jog.
Jogging is a more leisurely form of running, if you can classify any form of exercise as leisurely. To put it lightly, jogging is a step up from walking. And running is a step up from jogging.
Almost anyone can jog. All it takes is moving your legs faster than a quick walk. Still, there is a correct way to do it and using the right form will help prevent injuries.
Correct jogging form:
- Stand up tall and engage your core. It is where your strength comes from.
- Look straight ahead. Try not to look at the ground while you jog.
- Keep your hands loose. Try not to clench your fists.
- Keep your arms relaxed and swing them at your side, not across the front of your body.
- Land on the middle of your foot, not the ball or the toes.
- Sync your breathing with your steps.
The benefits of running and jogging are relatively similar. Both exercises burn calories, strengthen muscles, build strong bones, increase endurance and reduce stress. Both exercises will also increase your overall health.
Benefits of jogging vs running
But there are some distinct benefits to jogging vs running. For starters, when you jog, you run slower, which allows you to take in more oxygen than when you are running.
Without enough oxygen, you could actually be burning sugar calories instead of fat calories. And while that isn’t entirely bad, if you are running to lose weight, burning sugar calories won’t necessarily help you get it done.
If you are running to lose weight, but have hit a plateau, it could be because you aren’t getting in enough oxygen to burn that fat. Just slow it down a bit and see if that helps.
The other distinctive benefit of jogging over running is that it could possibly increase your life span. Now, most runners don’t run with the sole purpose of living longer, but it is an added benefit!
So, if you are a runner who secretly hates running, try taking it down a notch or two! You might start liking it again, and it may be better for your health in the long run.
When should you jog, rather than run?
If you are a runner, then know that there are times when it is acceptable – and even encouraged – to slow it down to a jog.
When you are warming up for a run, or cooling down from a run, you should slow it down to a jog. When warming up, jogging will gradually increase the blood flow to your muscles and cardiovascular system.
And cooling down with a jog gradually brings your body back down to its resting state, returning your blood pressure and heart rate to normal. Plus, a proper warm up and cool down reduces risk of injury and soreness.
When doing interval training, you also jog, in between intervals. This is important because it gives your body a break from the intense effort required for the interval. This helps your body adjust to running faster by letting you practice maintaining your form and speed even when you are tired.
And finally, slow it down to a jog if you are recovering from an injury. Jogging puts less stress on your body, which is important if you have recently injured yourself. Added stress increases the risk for reinjury.
While almost anyone can jog, running does require a higher fitness level and a tighter form than jogging does. It’s not that someone unfit can’t run, it’s just that a jog is an easier place to start if you are new to running.
Running requires more power. While some aspects of proper running form are the same as jogging, more is required of your legs when you run. This requires a stronger running form than jogging does.
The main difference is knee placement and leg movement.
Correct running form:
- Stand up straight and keep your core strong. Most of your power comes from your core muscles.
- Keep your shoulders back and your eyes on the road ahead.
- Pay attention to your stride. Your stride length will depend on how tall you are and how long your legs are, but you don’t want to be overextending yourself or shuffling your feet.
- Land on the middle of your foot, not your toes or heels.
- Make sure your knees line up with your toes.
- Don’t lift your knees up too high.
Always remember, using the proper running technique will increase your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Benefits of running vs jogging
Again, the benefits of both, running and jogging, are relatively similar. They are both great forms of exercise.
Still, there are a few great reasons to kick it up a notch.
Running does burn more calories than jogging does, specifically because you are working harder. A person who runs hard for 30 minutes is going to burn more calories than a person who jogs for 30 minutes.
Plus, after your run, you continue to burn more calories! This is called the ‘afterburn affect’.
Your body needs to return all of your systems to a normal resting state after a hard run, and the beauty of it is, it actually requires you to burn more energy to do so.
This means you will burn additional calories – for up to three days after your run!
Kinda makes that hard half hour worth it, now doesn’t it?
When should you run, rather than jog?
Whether you run or jog is a personal decision, just as whether you call yourself a runner or a jogger is. But there are times when you may want to consider running over jogging.
The most obvious is if you are trying to lose weight, simply because running will help you reach your weight loss goals faster than jogging will.
If you are preparing for a race, obviously, that is a time when you will choose running over jogging as well. Most runners enter races with a specific pace or time goal in mind and running will help you reach your goal better than jogging will.
But you might also want to consider running if you are pretty comfortable with jogging. If you are that person who religiously heads out for a morning jog, then it might be time to challenge yourself, and kick it up to a morning run.
And let’s not forget our natural competitive instinct here! Running is often a solo sport, but not always. If you are heading out with others, it might be a good time to run, rather than jog.
Especially if you are trying to impress your spouse.
Overall, jogging is simply a slower form of running. The actual physical techniques of both does not vary much. The biggest difference is in your pace and your form. Obviously, you will run at a faster pace than you will jog.
But you will also have a longer, more powerful, purposeful stride when you run. Joggers often have shorter strides and can shuffle their feet.
The benefits of both are very similar as well. If your goal is overall fitness, jogging may be better. But, if you have a performance goal or a weight loss goal, then running might serve you better.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all in perspective. What you call yourself is a reflection of how you view yourself and the effort you put forth.
What really matters is that you are getting exercise and having fun.