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Jogging vs Running: Here Are The Differences, Similarities + Benefits

Does it matter if you "jog" or "run"?

As a certified running coach and personal trainer, I am often approached by beginners who feel self-conscious about their running speed and will only ever consider themselves to be “joggers.“

“Running” and “jogging” are often used interchangeably outside the world of running, but runners and joggers do tend to differentiate the two in various ways.

Technically, running and jogging are essentially the same form of aerobic exercise. Still, when it comes down to semantics, the main difference between jogging vs running is the speed—with jogging pace being slower than running pace.

In this guide to jogging vs running, we will discuss the key differences between jogging and running, the benefits, and tips for beginners who want to start jogging and running as part of their overall fitness routine. 

Jogging vs Running: Here Are The Differences, Similarities + Benefits 1

What Is Jogging vs Running?

The concept of jogging is said to have originated in New Zealand with the famous Olympic track coach Arthur Lydiard.1Arthur Lydiard. (n.d.). Athletics New Zealand. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://athletics.org.nz/legends/arthur-lydiard/

‌Arthur Lydiard encouraged his track and cross country athletes to go for easy runs to build their aerobic fitness level, calling these easy runs “jogs,“ or the act of jogging.

Bill Bowerman, who became the eventual founder of Nike, was on a trip to New Zealand and observed the training practices of the athletes, including the “jogging“ or slow runs they were doing to strengthen the cardiovascular system for higher-intensity running.

Coach Bill Bowerman2Bill Bowerman | American entrepreneur. (2019). In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bill-Bowerman took his observations of these slower pace runs back to the United States and eventually published a book aptly titled Jogging, which quickly became a best-seller and ultimately spawned the running boom in the early 1970s in the USA.

Suddenly, the practice of going for a slow jog or running at an easy pace as a form of physical activity to improve cardiovascular fitness and heart health became commonplace among everyday individuals and not just competitive long-distance runners or track athletes.

That said, even though people started identifying as joggers and seemingly differentiating jogging vs running by the fact that jogging pace was a slower running pace, there isn’t an actual technical difference or guidelines that indicate when you are running vs jogging or vice versa.

However, because most running coaches and fitness professionals now use running speed as the arbitrary main difference between jogging vs running, we can point out other key differences that result because you are either running faster or running slower.

Essentially, differences in running pace lead to other differences in each of these forms of aerobic exercise, namely how many calories you burn per minute, your effort level, and your heart rate while running vs jogging.

jogging vs running

What Is the Difference Between Jogging And Running Pace?

According to some sources,3Long, L. L., & Srinivasan, M. (2013). Walking, running, and resting under time, distance, and average speed constraints: optimality of walk–run–rest mixtures. Journal of the Royal Society Interface10(81), 20120980. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2012.0980 average jogging speed refers to traveling anywhere from 4 to 6 mph, whereas once you hit a speed of 6 mph, your physical activity is considered running.

Using this definition, the jogging speed is 4 to 6 mph, corresponding to a jogging speed of 6.44 to 9.66 kilometers per hour.

Using the definition of jogging speed to be 4 to 6 mph or 6.44 to 9.66 km/h, we can say that the average jogging pace is 10-15 minutes per mile.

Thus, running would be defined as a pace faster than a 10-minute mile pace.

That said, because there seems to be a negative connotation associated with being a jogger vs runner, these stipulations might offend slower runners who identify as runners.

Plus, even though we might consider a jogging pace of 10 minutes per mile to be jogging vs runner, according to Strava,4How does your training stack up against the pros? (2017, October 30). Stories.strava.com. https://stories.strava.com/articles/how-does-your-training-stack-up-against-the-pros#:~:text=The%20average%20run%20on%20Strava the average running pace for a logged run is 9:53 per mile. 

Other Strava reports5Climbing Community Hardgoods, Footwear Buyers and Brands Choosing The Big Gear Show in 2021 – Outdoor Industry Association. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://outdoorindustry.org/press-release/climbing-community-hardgoods-footwear-buyers-and-brands-choosing-the-big-gear-show-in-2021/ suggest that the average running pace for a man is 9:03 per mile and 10:21 per mile for a woman. 

Therefore, this would classify most recreational runners as joggers.

jogging vs running

What Is the Difference Between Jogging And Running Effort Level?

In my own practice as a running coach, I do not use a specific jogging pace or running pace as a universal cut off between running vs jogging (such as this arbitrary 10 minutes per mile pace).

Rather, I tell beginners that their jogging pace should be their slower running speeds, or what feels like a very easy run, whereas running is when they are pushing themselves at a higher intensity level, and sprinting is your maximum running speed.

This means that when you are switching from a walking gait to a jogging/running gait, the slowest speeds that you can run vs walk would be considered “jogging,“ whereas faster paces are running vs jogging, and when you are running as fast as possible, you are sprinting.

The actual running speeds you are moving while running vs jogging will depend on your fitness level.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Running?

The physical and mental health benefits of running and jogging are similar, but the amount of time you may need to jog vs run to yield these health benefits can differ.

Per the physical activity guidelines for Americans set forth by the Centers for l Disease Control and Prevention6Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC), adults should accumulate either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio exercise per week.

Here, your heart rate while jogging or running helps classify whether you are doing moderate-intensity cardio exercise or high-intensity cardio exercise.

According to the CDC, any type of exercise that increases your heart rate to 50-70% of your maximum heart rate falls under the umbrella of “moderate-intensity aerobic exercise” while cardio exercise that raises your heart rate to 70-85% of your max heart rate is considered “vigorous intensity exercise.”

Thus, if your jogging heart rate is below 70% of your maximum heart rate (zone 1 or zone 2 training), you would need to do 150 minutes of jogging per week to achieve the health benefits of jogging in terms of the prevention of chronic disease.

On the other hand, if your heart rate while jogging or running is above 70% of your max heart rate, you only need to do 75 minutes of running per week to reap the health benefits of running.

jogging vs running

Here are some of the top physical and mental health benefits of running and jogging:

  1. Increasing your life expectancy.7Lee, D.-C., Brellenthin, A. G., Thompson, P. D., Sui, X., Lee, I-Min., & Lavie, C. J. (2017). Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases60(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2017.03.005
  2. Decreasing the risk of all-cause mortality8Pedisic, Z., Shrestha, N., Kovalchik, S., Stamatakis, E., Liangruenrom, N., Grgic, J., Titze, S., Biddle, S. J., Bauman, A. E., & Oja, P. (2019). Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine54(15), bjsports-2018-100493. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493 and the risk of cardiovascular disease. For example, studies show9Lee, D., Pate, R. R., Lavie, C. J., Sui, X., Church, T. S., & Blair, S. N. (2014). Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology64(5), 472–481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058 that running as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day even at slow speeds (6 miles per hour or 10 km/hr) significantly reduces the risk of death from heart disease and heart attacks. 
  3. Improving the health of the spine.10Mitchell, U. H., Bowden, J. A., Larson, R. E., Belavy, D. L., & Owen, P. J. (2020). Long-term running in middle-aged men and intervertebral disc health, a cross-sectional pilot study. PLOS ONE15(2), e0229457. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229457
  4. Improving the health of your knees.11Ponzio, D. Y., Syed, U. A. M., Purcell, K., Cooper, A. M., Maltenfort, M., Shaner, J., & Chen, A. F. (2018). Low Prevalence of Hip and Knee Arthritis in Active Marathon Runners. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery100(2), 131–137. https://doi.org/10.2106/jbjs.16.01071
  5. Helping burn calories and can support weight loss.12WILLIAMS, P. T. (2013). Greater Weight Loss from Running than Walking during a 6.2-yr Prospective Follow-up. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise45(4), 706–713. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0b013e31827b0d0a and may decrease your body fat percentage when coupled with healthy eating habits. 
  6. Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.13Wang, Y., Lee, D., Brellenthin, A. G., Eijsvogels, T. M. H., Sui, X., Church, T. S., Lavie, C. J., & Blair, S. N. (2019). Leisure-Time Running Reduces the Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes. The American Journal of Medicine132(10), 1225–1232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.04.035
  7. Helping manage hypertension (high blood pressure).14Naci, H., Salcher-Konrad, M., Dias, S., Blum, M. R., Sahoo, S. A., Nunan, D., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2018). How does exercise treatment compare with antihypertensive medications? A network meta-analysis of 391 randomised controlled trials assessing exercise and medication effects on systolic blood pressure. British Journal of Sports Medicine53(14), 859–869. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-099921
  8. Lowering LDL cholesterol levels and increasing HDL cholesterol levels.15Williams, P. T., & Thompson, P. D. (2013). Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology33(5), 1085–1091. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300878
  9. Reducing symptoms of depression, boosting your mood, decreasing stress, and improving self-esteem and mental well-being.16Mousavi Gilani, S. R., & Khazaei Feizabad, A. (2019). The effects of aerobic exercise training on mental health and self-esteem of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Health Psychology Research7(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/hpr.2019.6576
  10. Building muscle in the quadriceps (quads), glutes, hamstrings, calves, core muscles, and upper body muscles, especially when coupled with strength training.
  11. Reducing the risk of cancer.17Moore, S. C., Lee, I-Min., Weiderpass, E., Campbell, P. T., Sampson, J. N., Kitahara, C. M., Keadle, S. K., Arem, H., Berrington de Gonzalez, A., Hartge, P., Adami, H.-O., Blair, C. K., Borch, K. B., Boyd, E., Check, D. P., Fournier, A., Freedman, N. D., Gunter, M., Johannson, M., & Khaw, K.-T. (2016). Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine176(6), 816–825. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1548
  12. Helping support better sleep.18Kalak, N., Gerber, M., Kirov, R., Mikoteit, T., Yordanova, J., Pühse, U., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Brand, S. (2012). Daily Morning Running for 3 Weeks Improved Sleep and Psychological Functioning in Healthy Adolescents Compared With Controls. Journal of Adolescent Health51(6), 615–622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.020
  13. Studies show19Nieman, D. C., & Wentz, L. M. (2019). The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science8(3), 201–217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009 that getting moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can support the immune system and decrease inflammation.
  14. Aerobic exercise such as running can improve cognitive performance20Dinoff, A., Herrmann, N., Swardfager, W., & Lanctôt, K. L. (2017). The effect of acute exercise on blood concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy adults: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Neuroscience46(1), 1635–1646. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13603 and brain health
jogging vs running

Tips for Jogging and Running for Beginners

Here are some tips for jogging and running workouts:

  • Do a warm-up and cool down before your workouts. Beginners can do a brisk walking warm-up and then start jogging, and advanced runners can jog as the warm-up before running.
  • Follow a training plan geared towards your fitness level and training goals (run your first 5k, break 2 hours in a half marathon, etc.).
  • Wear a heart rate monitor or fitness watch to assess your heart rate while running to hit the target heart rate for moderate- or vigorous intensity exercise based on your training plan and/or health goals.
  • Incorporate interval training to improve your running speed, burn calories, and boost your fitness level.

Ultimately, because there is no official designation that differentiates jogging vs running, whether you consider yourself a jogger or runner, or call your workout running or jogging, is a matter of personal preference.

If you enjoyed this guide, check out our next article on average jogging speeds:

References

  • 1
    Arthur Lydiard. (n.d.). Athletics New Zealand. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://athletics.org.nz/legends/arthur-lydiard/
  • 2
    Bill Bowerman | American entrepreneur. (2019). In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bill-Bowerman
  • 3
    Long, L. L., & Srinivasan, M. (2013). Walking, running, and resting under time, distance, and average speed constraints: optimality of walk–run–rest mixtures. Journal of the Royal Society Interface10(81), 20120980. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2012.0980
  • 4
    How does your training stack up against the pros? (2017, October 30). Stories.strava.com. https://stories.strava.com/articles/how-does-your-training-stack-up-against-the-pros#:~:text=The%20average%20run%20on%20Strava
  • 5
    Climbing Community Hardgoods, Footwear Buyers and Brands Choosing The Big Gear Show in 2021 – Outdoor Industry Association. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://outdoorindustry.org/press-release/climbing-community-hardgoods-footwear-buyers-and-brands-choosing-the-big-gear-show-in-2021/
  • 6
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • 7
    Lee, D.-C., Brellenthin, A. G., Thompson, P. D., Sui, X., Lee, I-Min., & Lavie, C. J. (2017). Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases60(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2017.03.005
  • 8
    Pedisic, Z., Shrestha, N., Kovalchik, S., Stamatakis, E., Liangruenrom, N., Grgic, J., Titze, S., Biddle, S. J., Bauman, A. E., & Oja, P. (2019). Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine54(15), bjsports-2018-100493. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493
  • 9
    Lee, D., Pate, R. R., Lavie, C. J., Sui, X., Church, T. S., & Blair, S. N. (2014). Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology64(5), 472–481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058
  • 10
    Mitchell, U. H., Bowden, J. A., Larson, R. E., Belavy, D. L., & Owen, P. J. (2020). Long-term running in middle-aged men and intervertebral disc health, a cross-sectional pilot study. PLOS ONE15(2), e0229457. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229457
  • 11
    Ponzio, D. Y., Syed, U. A. M., Purcell, K., Cooper, A. M., Maltenfort, M., Shaner, J., & Chen, A. F. (2018). Low Prevalence of Hip and Knee Arthritis in Active Marathon Runners. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery100(2), 131–137. https://doi.org/10.2106/jbjs.16.01071
  • 12
    WILLIAMS, P. T. (2013). Greater Weight Loss from Running than Walking during a 6.2-yr Prospective Follow-up. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise45(4), 706–713. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0b013e31827b0d0a
  • 13
    Wang, Y., Lee, D., Brellenthin, A. G., Eijsvogels, T. M. H., Sui, X., Church, T. S., Lavie, C. J., & Blair, S. N. (2019). Leisure-Time Running Reduces the Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes. The American Journal of Medicine132(10), 1225–1232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.04.035
  • 14
    Naci, H., Salcher-Konrad, M., Dias, S., Blum, M. R., Sahoo, S. A., Nunan, D., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2018). How does exercise treatment compare with antihypertensive medications? A network meta-analysis of 391 randomised controlled trials assessing exercise and medication effects on systolic blood pressure. British Journal of Sports Medicine53(14), 859–869. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-099921
  • 15
    Williams, P. T., & Thompson, P. D. (2013). Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology33(5), 1085–1091. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300878
  • 16
    Mousavi Gilani, S. R., & Khazaei Feizabad, A. (2019). The effects of aerobic exercise training on mental health and self-esteem of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Health Psychology Research7(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/hpr.2019.6576
  • 17
    Moore, S. C., Lee, I-Min., Weiderpass, E., Campbell, P. T., Sampson, J. N., Kitahara, C. M., Keadle, S. K., Arem, H., Berrington de Gonzalez, A., Hartge, P., Adami, H.-O., Blair, C. K., Borch, K. B., Boyd, E., Check, D. P., Fournier, A., Freedman, N. D., Gunter, M., Johannson, M., & Khaw, K.-T. (2016). Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine176(6), 816–825. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1548
  • 18
    Kalak, N., Gerber, M., Kirov, R., Mikoteit, T., Yordanova, J., Pühse, U., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Brand, S. (2012). Daily Morning Running for 3 Weeks Improved Sleep and Psychological Functioning in Healthy Adolescents Compared With Controls. Journal of Adolescent Health51(6), 615–622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.020
  • 19
    Nieman, D. C., & Wentz, L. M. (2019). The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science8(3), 201–217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009
  • 20
    Dinoff, A., Herrmann, N., Swardfager, W., & Lanctôt, K. L. (2017). The effect of acute exercise on blood concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy adults: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Neuroscience46(1), 1635–1646. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13603
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

3 thoughts on “Jogging vs Running: Here Are The Differences, Similarities + Benefits”

  1. while this might be historically accurate as to where the term jogging comes from I don’t think it serves a useful purpose, or at least not as much purpose as these possible definitions (that I use)
    jogging = your heel strikes the ground first
    running = your toes strike the ground first
    sprinting = your heel never even touches the ground.
    speed is a consequence of form, the above describe form, and its relevant to what muscles get used, what stresses on bones and ligaments are imposed, and in the end what type of shoes you should be wearing

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