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Jogging VS Running: What Is The Difference?

jogging vs running Jogging VS Running: What Is The Difference? www.walkjogrun.net

If you are like many avid runners, the term jogger makes you grit your teeth. I’m not sure why people find the term so derogatory but sometimes, things just are what they are. I am part of an amazing online running community called the Sub:30 Club and one thing we all agree upon is this: the jogger always finds the dead body in the park. No, I’m serious. Whether it is a murder mystery novel or a creepy movie, it’s always a jogger that literally stumbles upon the body in the park and ends up calling the police. But is there actually a difference when it comes to jogging vs running?

Is It About Pace?

When contemplating jogging vs running, some people think it is all about pace. If you are out for an easy jaunt, that is more of a jog. However, if you are moving along at a pretty good clip, that is running.

The problem is, one person’s jaunt is another runner’s fast clip. Do you see what I mean? And for some people, the terminology is insulting for some reason. For others, they don’t care much what terms you use.

Conversational Pace?

There is a school of thought out there that if you can carry on an entire conversation easily, you are jogging, not running. However, if you can only say a few words or phrases at a time, you are running.

That is known as the conversation test. If you pass the conversation test, in some circles you are jogging. If you cannot talk except sporadically, you are running.

Minute Per Mile Pace

I was surprised to hear that some people actually put a specific number on what is running as opposed to jogging. For many athletes, the 10 minutes per mile mark. In other words, if you are moving along at a pace of 10-minute miles or faster, you are running. Any slower and you are a jogger.

the difference between jogging and running

However, if you normally run 7-minute miles, slowing down to a 10-minute mile feels super duper easy to you. Guess what? To that person, the 10-minute mile might feel like something called jogging.

What Does Webster Say?

If you break out the Merriam Webster dictionary, there is a definitive difference between running and jogging.

Jogging: to go at a slow, leisurely, monotonous pace (trudge)

If you look to Webster for a definition of running, it actually muddies the waters more than it clears things up. The first part of the definition for run makes it appear that jogging is actually the same thing as running (and perhaps it is!).

Run: to go faster than a walk, to go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant in both steps.

The Race Bib

The measure if you are a runner or jogger is crystal clear to some people. If you toe the line at a race and pin on a race bib, you are a runner. If, however, you just amble through the streets of your community for exercise or leisure activity without ever racing, you are a jogger.

On the one hand I like this theory. The idea is that deciding to race makes you a different caliber of runner. However, there is one problem with this generalization. Not everyone who puts on a race bib is “racing.”

running race

This is a controversial comment for me to make. Why? Because running alongside 100s of other people at an event does not necessarily mean you are racing.

Racing has a connotation to it that you are actually putting 100% into every step you take. If you are not actually running hard at a best effort pace, you might be participating in a race but you are not racing.  See the difference there?

And that is not to insult anyone. Heck, there are many times I pay a registration fee, sign up, and attend an event to run with friends. We are having a lovely day. Sometimes we run hard, sometimes we don’t. Often, it is more about the social aspects of the event than how fast I am going. On these days, I am not racing.

Other days, I have trained diligently and have a goal time in mind. I am razor sharp focused and all in. On these days, I am racing.


Another thing to consider is mindset. Those who believe that you flip over from jogger to runner if you start to think and work out with that competitive edge.

If every time you lace up your shoes and put on your athletic clothes, you are just moving along at an easy pace, perhaps you are a jogger. At the very least, you are a recreational runner.

However, if you mix up your workouts, if you add in speed work, fartleks and hill work, you are most assuredly a runner.

Heart Rate

Given all of the research about heart rate training and the benefits of keeping your heart rate low and steady for burning fat, perhaps the “joggers” have it most figured out if you are working toward weight loss. A low heart rate over a longer period of time has been proven to aid in a slow, steady burn of fat and calories, as opposed to a faster pace that is not sustainable for a longer time.

heart rate running

According to Livestrong, running happens when your heart rate is higher no matter what your pace or time is. In other words, what matters how you are challenging your heart. Not someone else: yours.

If your heart rate gets elevated and stays that way, you are running!

Body Movement

Some people also think that how your body moves mattes. Jogging is sometimes defined as a bouncier movement.

Running, on the other hand, is seen as more fluid with longer strides and quicker arm movements.

Benefits Of Both

Whatever you choose to call it, whether you run or jog, there are similarities that make both exercises beneficial.

Strengthens Muscles: Both running and jogging are excellent at strengthening muscles.

Builds Strong Bones: To prevent osteoporosis you need weight-bearing exercise. Running and jogging both achieve this.

Helping Maintain Weight: If you are exercising with hopes of keeping your weight steady or losing weight, both help here!

Stress Relievers: Pounding the pavement has been proven as a great stress reliever for many people.

Cardiovascular Exercise: As long as you are getting your heart rate up, you are engaging and improving your cardio system.

Call It What You Like!

Honestly, you should call it whatever makes you happy. Although some people have firm ideas on whether they are running or jogging, don’t let someone else’s mindset destroy yours. If you feel like a runner and that term makes you happy, use it! However, if you consider yourself a jogger and that is the word that feels right for you, go ahead and use that one.

When it comes right down to it, it does not matter what you call it. It’s the movement that matters.


  1. C.H. Bodia, Difference Between Jogging & Running , Wellness and Fitness Website