Is there a difference between jogging and running? Many people use the terms interchangeably, but the two have specific but nuanced differences.
If you’ve got running-related goals, learn the difference to know how each one works and fits in with your goals. In this article, we cover both terms and how they are similar and different.
Definition of Jogging
There’s no specific, official definition of “jogging,” but it’s generally accepted that jogging is a slower form of running.
It’s faster than a walk but slower than a run. Some sources label a 10-minute mile as a “jog,” but it depends largely on your fitness, experience, and how fast you can run.
Why and When People Use the Word “Jogger”
It’s generally believed that joggers are “casual runners”—people who run regularly but don’t follow a training plan or enter races. However, it mostly comes down to what the person believes about themselves.
Some people will get offended if you call them a “jogger” instead of a “runner.” On the other hand, some will label themselves a jogger to separate themselves from more competitive runners.
When it comes to non-runners talking about runners, they usually use the word “jogger,” mainly because they don’t know the difference.
At The Wired Runner, we don’t call anyone a jogger. We think running is incredibly hard and believe anyone who steps outside to run is a runner, regardless of speed.
History of the Term “Jogging”
How did this extra running term originate? Although the act of jogging—slower running—has been around forever, jogging was popularized by Dr. Arthur Lydiard, an Olympic coach.
In the 1960s, Lydiard recommended that retired runners “jog” to keep their fitness levels up. Jogging gained more popularity with the release of the book “Jogging,” written by track coach Bill Bowerman and cardiac specialist W. E. Harris. The term caught on and has stuck around since then!
Key Differences Between Jogging and Running
Jogging and running might be the same activity, but they have certain differences that somewhat change the activity.
As we’ve already mentioned, there are no specific pace requirements for a jog. While some say a 10-minute mile—6 miles per hour—there’s no true “jogging pace” to aim for and no official standards.
That being said, we can confidently say that, while it differs from person to person, jogging can be considered to be done at a slower pace than your usual running pace, while running is closer to what you would do on a normal training run.
Whether you’re doing a tempo run, a fartlek, or just a run around the block, running tends to be at a higher intensity, with the heart and lungs working harder.
As jogging is easier on the body and the cardiovascular system, running longer distances before getting tired is easier. That being said, the slower pace of jogging means it’ll take much longer to cover a certain distance, so joggers might be put off by long distances.
While the basics of your form will be the same, it’ll change slightly due to your pace. When running, your arms will most likely swing more and your knees will come up higher for better momentum. You may also find that both of your feet are off the ground simultaneously.
There’ll be less arm and leg movement when jogging, as you don’t need the momentum. You’ll likely always always have one foot on the ground at all times.
Similarities Between Jogging and Running
Jogging and running overlap quite a bit. Aside from the pace, intensity, distance, and form, there are other similarities.
Gear and Attire
Proper running shoes and comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing are essential, whether you’re running or jogging—pretty much all gear overlaps—shoes, socks, clothing, accessories, and electronics.
Physical and Mental Health Benefits
Both running and jogging get endorphins flowing, stimulate circulation, lower cortisol levels, and boost mood. These effects make a big difference to your mental health, and there’s also evidence that doing so outside in nature is even more beneficial.
As for the physical effects, if you run or jog consistently, you can expect a higher fitness level, a better metabolism, stronger muscles, stronger bones, a tougher heart, reduced chances of certain diseases, and better sleep.
Both Are Accessible to Most People
You don’t need much to start running or jogging. A supportive, cushioned pair of shoes and space to run is all that’s required.
Improvement in Fitness
If you’re consistent, you’ll see fitness improvements whether you’re running or jogging. It may take a little longer to reach your goals with the lower intensity levels of jogging, but stick with it, and the results will come.
Can Help With Weight Management
When paired with a healthy diet and some careful calorie-counting, both running and jogging can be excellent ways to help you shed some weight or stay at your goal weight.
If weight loss is your goal, you’ll reach it faster running than you will jogging, as the higher intensity of running burns more calories. On the flip side, jogging is easier on the joints if you’ve got some extra weight on your frame, as it’s not as high-impact.
Jogging vs Running: Which Is Better?
Trying to pick between jogging and running? Here’s a quick list of pros and cons to help you choose.
- Lower-impact, keeping joints safer
- Great for beginners and not intimidating
- Excellent for recovery or rehabilitation
- Weight-bearing nature strengthens bones
- Beneficial for cardiovascular health
- Can help with losing weight
- Can help boost your mood
- May take longer to reach weight-loss goals
- Slower progress to improving the cardiovascular system
- Doesn’t train your anaerobic system (endurance)
- Burns more calories than jogging and in less time
- Builds your cardiovascular system faster
- More of a challenge and more varied
- A step closer to participating in races
- High-impact and higher risk of injury
- May be intimidating to beginners
When Should You Jog?
Here’s when jogging is a better choice than running.
When You’re Starting to Run Again
If you’re getting back into running after some time off, it’s best not to leap back into it at the same level you left off. Start with jogging until your body is used to the activity again. Starting too fast can lead you right into injury.
Maintaining Fitness During Breaks
If you’re in your off-season and aren’t training towards something specific, jogging is a great way to maintain your fitness without putting you at a high risk for injury.
Injury Recovery and Assessment
If you’re recovering from an injury, especially one to the legs, jogging is the better choice. You’ll be able to ease it back into the motion of running slowly and carefully, with much less chance of injuring yourself again.
Starting an Exercise Routine
If you’re new to exercise, jogging is the natural place to start. It’ll help your joints ease into the movements, get you used to the running motion, and ease you in so you don’t get injured right away.
When Should You Run?
If the idea of jogging makes you impatient, here’s when running might be a better choice for you.
You’re Training for a Race or Competitive Event
If you’ve got a race coming up, then running will be the better choice. The higher-intensity activity primes your cardiovascular system, builds more muscle, and helps you build up more speed.
Improve Your Running Speed
You need to run if you’re specifically training to boost your speed. It’s more challenging than jogging and will help you to improve faster.
To Smash Personal Records
Running gives you the chance to get faster and reach new milestones. Hitting a new high pace or a new PR for a specific distance is exhilarating, and you won’t often find that with jogging as you’re unlikely to push yourself enough to reach new goals.
Burn Baby, Burn: Torch Calories
If you’re after weight loss, then running is necessary. You still burn calories jogging, but fewer. The more intensely you run, the more calories you burn, and in less time as well. Pair it with a calorie-controlled diet and you’ll be able to reach your goals much faster.
Cover More Ground in Less Time
Thanks to a faster pace, you’ll be able to cover longer distances while running than you will jogging. A 1-mile run might take you 6 minutes, and a jog of the same distance might take 10 minutes.
That’s a significant difference, so if you need to cover longer distances in shorter periods, running is ideal.
Intensity Matters: Stimulate Your Anaerobic System
Running is the best way to improve your overall fitness. Its higher intensity pushes you into anaerobic activity, which means you’re working in a heart rate zone that can help boost your fitness, endurance, and stamina.