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Jogging vs Running: Differences and Benefits

Have you ever considered the benefits of jogging vs running, or wondered what on earth the difference is between the two? If so, you’re in luck because this article covers all of the main differences between running and jogging! 

In this article, we’ve covered the following topics:

Before we get stuck in, if you think you have what it takes to take your passion for fitness to the next level, go ahead and enquire about our CIMSPA endorsed personal training diploma or download our full course prospectus.

Jogging vs Running: What Is The Difference?

In the great debate of jogging vs running, the main difference comes down to a few factors. Namely, those are speed, intensity, and mindset. Speed is an especially significant factor that distinguishes jogging from running, with runners usually being much quicker than joggers.

Some people consider the difference between jogging and running to be no more than a change of word. Dr. George Sheehan, a renowned runner and athlete, was quoted saying that ‘the difference between a runner and a jogger is a signature on a race application’. 

That is to say, the difference between running and jogging is down to the individual and whether they see themselves as a jogger or a runner.

One notable difference between runners and joggers is the end goal of the individual. Many runners tend to set themselves targets, such as trying to get their 5k time down or building up their stamina so that they can run a marathon

On the other hand, joggers more often than not jog to experience the general health benefits of exercising, such as improved overall fitness, weight loss, and a couple of others which you can find just below.

By no means do these differences suggest that either running or jogging is better or worse than the other. So throughout this jogging vs running comparison, remember that they each have benefits and both can help you to achieve your goals! 

Jogging vs Running: A Breakdown Of The Differences

Before we go on to discuss the benefits of jogging vs running in more detail, let's first break down some of the main differences between the two - here goes!

#1 Speed

One of the main questions that people have when comparing running and jogging is something along the lines of ‘how fast is running vs jogging?’, or ‘what is jogging speed vs running speed?’.

Whilst running is typically considered to be much faster than jogging, there is no hard and fast definition or specific speed that distinguishes a running speed from a jogging speed.

Some people consider the cut-off point of running vs jogging as a speed of under 6 miles per hour, so around 10-12 minutes per mile. Others would consider you more of a jogger than a runner if you were to complete a 5k in over half an hour. 

Some might consider themselves as slow runners rather than joggers if their mile time is 12 minutes, or runners might think that anyone with a 9-minute mile or more is a jogger.

When considering running vs jogging and speed, if you drop under a so-called ‘running’ pace, it doesn’t automatically make you a jogger rather than a runner. At the same time, if you hit a particularly fast pace one day, it doesn’t mean that you have to describe yourself as a runner over a jogger. 

The truth is that it all depends on who you ask. When it comes to deciding whether a particular speed makes you a runner or a jogger, the only real opinion that matters is your own!

Keep reading to see how our next difference between running and jogging can be affected by your speed or find some tips on how to improve your average running speed here.

#2 Intensity

Related to speed and pace, another key difference between jogging and running is intensity. Keeping in mind that your pace tends to be faster when you’re running compared to when jogging, it only makes sense that the intensity is upped during a run, too.  

Both running and jogging are higher impact exercises, but since running is far higher intensity, it affects the joints more. The same muscles are used while running and jogging, but those muscles are required to work far harder whilst you’re running.

Intensity also varies between the different types of running and jogging. For example, things like sprinting and trail running are far higher intensity than just going for a light jog.  

#3 Calories 

Another difference between running and jogging is the calories burned during the exercise. This is something that links back to both speed and intensity, such that the faster and more intense your run, the more calories you burn. 

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of jogging vs running for weight loss, you might think that running is the superior choice seeing as it's the more effective way to torch calories. However, that isn’t necessarily the truth!

If you’re looking to start running or jogging for weight loss, jogging can be the better choice if you’re a beginner or if you haven’t exercised in a while. 

Whilst higher intensity running does burn more calories than a gentle jog, starting with a slow pace is much more sustainable and can therefore help you to improve your general fitness and increase your overall calorie burn.

A key tenet of weight loss is maintaining a calorie deficit, and jogging or running (or a mixture of both) can help to widen that calorie deficit, helping you to lose more weight! Why not follow this personal trainer meal plan to compliment your exercise regime.

#4 Mindset

If you’re thinking about jogging vs running, another key difference is the mindset that you are in. For instance, since jogging tends to be lower intensity, and there’s no worrying about your pace or distance, you’ll be in a more relaxed mindset. 

However, if you class yourself as a serious runner, you’ll need to focus on things like breathing techniques, speed, and achieving your end goal, whatever that may be.

Keep reading about the difference between running and jogging to see how else your mindset can make all the difference, or check out this OriGym guide to mindful running.

#5 Goals

We touched on this before, but another main difference between jogging and running is the end goal of the exercise. Runners will almost always be running towards a specific goal, whether that be trying to get their mile time down, working towards beating their personal best, or training to compete in a race.

On the other hand, jogging is typically less competitive and goal driven, or at least the end goals aren’t as specific as those of a runner. 

Some exercise goals for joggers include building up their fitness as a beginner or getting back into exercise after an injury. As you’ll learn more about below, other beneficial outcomes of jogging include weight loss and improved physical and mental wellbeing. 

However, the higher intensity and increased pace that comes with achieving specific times or distances means that the more specific goals are more often associated with running as opposed to jogging. 

By giving you a target to work towards, goals are a great way to stay focused and motivated. If you're lacking motivation, these motivational running quotes might give you the boost you need! 

#6 Form 

Another factor that marks the difference between running and jogging is form. In the debate of what wins out of running vs jogging form, it's true that typically, joggers don’t have as strict a form as runners, as they tend to take a more casual approach. 

However runners, especially if they are professionals or professionally trained, have a more defined form.

If you’re a jogger, take some tips from the runners! Having a good running technique means that you run with a balanced forward posture, keeping your arms compact and your head up. Keeping your head up while running or jogging is really important, especially on roads, as it means you can be fully aware of your surroundings and anticipate what’s coming up. 

That's not to say that jogging is in any way wrong, it's just that running requires you to pay more attention to your form, which subsequently helps to improve it.

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Jogging vs Running: Pros and Cons

So, now that we have highlighted the main differences in the jogging vs running debate, what are the pros and cons of each? Both running and jogging have individual and shared benefits, all of which we’re about to talk through right now.

#1 Jogging is Lower Intensity

When comparing the difference between running and jogging, jogging will always win for being lower intensity and therefore easier on your legs and muscles. Whether this is a benefit of running or jogging or not really depends on what you want from the exercise.

If you’re weighing up whether to start running vs jogging as somebody with concerns about their joints, then definitely choose jogging. The fact that jogging is a lower intensity form of exercise means it is much easier on your joints and won’t damage your muscles or put you at risk of injury as much as running can.

Despite not necessarily being high intensity, jogging can still improve your muscle strength and lung capacity, even if it isn’t high intensity!

On the other hand, for a lot of people the fact that running is high intensity is by no means a disadvantage as high intensity exercise has tons of benefits in itself, such as increasing your metabolic rate and oxygen consumption. 

What we’re trying to say is that the benefits associated with jogging by no means make jogging better than running, it just means that low intensity jogs are the better option for complete beginners or those recovering from a muscle or joint injury!

#2 Running Burns More Calories

Jogging vs running for weight loss – which is better? 

Giving an exact answer to this question would require us to set a specific running vs jogging definition which, as we mentioned above, doesn't strictly exist. However, if we answer this question on the basis that running is higher intensity and involves moving at a faster pace than jogger, then objectively, running burns more calories than jogging. 

According to figures published by Harvard Health Publishing, in 30 mins a person weighing 125 pounds would burn 295 calories running at 6mph (the speed needed to run a 10 minute mile). Meanwhile, a 125 person would only burn 180 calories by jogging for the same period of time.

But remember, you can still get a great calorie burn with jogging, as keeping a steady pace will mean you’ll be able to go further and for longer. If you’re looking to start jogging or running for weight loss, running is a great high-intensity choice to help you reach your goals! 

If you're trying to lose weight, cycling is also a great exercise for weight loss

#3 Jogging is much more relaxed

If you want to start running or jogging for health, but you don’t want something too mentally intense, then opt for jogging. 

When you’re jogging, you can think about anything you want! But if you’re a serious runner, you have a million other things to think about such as pace, breathing, and form. Trivial thoughts such as what you want for dinner or how nice the clouds look are the last thing on your mind! 

Many people also like to take the time to listen to music while they run. In fact, there is some evidence that running with music can aid your performance

A benefit of running and jogging that applies to both is that you’ll feel super relaxed afterwards thanks to the release of endorphins exercise brings!

#4 Runners have better form

One difference between running and jogging is that the form of both is certainly different, and runners tend to have better form. Better form can lead to better performance and reduced injury – for instance, runners land midfoot, which boosts speed and reduces the risk of injuring their knees or ankles. 

However, jogging is not necessarily bad when it comes to form! Joggers tend to run with a bounce, which can lessen the impact that running can have on your knees and joints. If you’re a jogger, consider incorporating some aspects of running form (arms at 90 degrees, breathing steadily) into your jogs to improve your speed!

It's also useful to practice your breathing form too – in through your nose, out through your mouth, to prevent you from breathing too quickly. Along with this, be sure to keep your arms at 90 degrees at your side, and don’t swing them too much while you run. 

#5 Jogging is good for anyone returning from an injury

As we discussed a little earlier, a key difference between running and jogging is intensity. As jogging is much lower intensity, it is a more ideal exercise for anyone returning or recovering from an injury. 

For instance, if you’ve suffered a knee injury, it wouldn’t be the best idea to jump straight into an 8-minute mile – instead, a slow, steady jog would be better to build your strength and stamina back up and reduce the risk of injuring yourself again.

Shared Benefits Of Jogging vs Running

Despite there being some difference in the debate of running vs jogging, there are actually some shared benefits of both forms of exercise. 

Whether you enjoy high-intensity runs or more relaxed jogs, or you like switching between both, here are some benefits that you can enjoy regardless!

#1 Both benefit your mental health 

Sometimes it isn’t running vs jogging, as in this case! Running and jogging are both excellent exercises for boosting your mental health, as they stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals in our brains such as endorphins and serotonin. 

Running and jogging can alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, and can even help your brain to perform better! Check out our guide to the mental health benefits of running to find out more about the relationship between the mind and physical activity. 

#2 Both boost your immune system

If you’re thinking about running vs jogging, one of the similarities is that both can help to improve your immune system and help to keep you healthier. 

When you run or jog, your heart rate increases, and your white blood cells actually multiply, and patrol the body looking for infection - benefiting your immune system. 

So as well as helping you to feel good mentally, regularly running or jogging can contribute to improved physical health, too. Check out the benefits of running here for more information about how running can affect your physical health. 

#3 Both can help you lose weight

If you’re wondering about the benefits of running vs jogging for weight loss, then you should know that both can help to torch those excess calories and help you to reach your goals. 

While jogging is lower intensity and burns less calories than running, you can jog for longer, and therefore burn more calories than you might do running at a pace that you can only keep up for a limited time period. 

When it comes to a weight loss journey, or starting any new exercise regime for that matter, consistency is key. Therefore, for some people regularly jogging at a pace that is sustainable is actually more effective than running flat out only to be suffering from DOMS the next day and unable to get back out there.

As running is much higher intensity, it burns a lot more calories, and can also help you to reach your weight loss goals as long as you are able to be consistent with it. 

#4 Both increase your lung health

When thinking about the pros and cons of running vs jogging, a pro that they both share is that they can improve your lung health! 

This study from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine concluded that aerobic exercise can decrease airway inflammation and even reduce the effects of asthma. Steady running or jogging will mean that your lung capacity will increase and you’ll be able to go further for longer!

#5 Both can be done almost anywhere 

Do you have a pair of trainers? Then you can lace them up and go on a run or a jog absolutely anywhere! 

Whether you fancy a bit of light jogging vs high intensity running, you can plan a route from home or if you have a gym membership, you can jump right on a treadmill. 

This makes both running and jogging versatile and also cost effective – at the end of the day, all you need is some decent running shoes

FAQs

Is it better to run or jog?

This entirely depends on you! If you’re researching starting jogging vs running as somebody who has never ran before, start out with a slow jog to get yourself used to it. 

Once you’re confident enough to go further and faster, you might find that you’ve been running without even realising it! 

Both are fantastic exercises with a whole host of physical and mental health benefits, so if you’re considering the difference between running and jogging for health, there’s no need to stress too much over your decision as both are great!

Is jogging the same thing as running?

At the end of the day, yes! The only significant differences in the jogging vs running debate are speed and intensity, and even they don't have specific definitions! 

Of course, there are other differences in things like mindset and calorie burn, but the action is the same – you’re moving at a speed faster than a walk!

Is a 12-minute mile running or jogging?

This depends on who you ask. If you ask a runner, they might consider full speed running vs jogging as doing an 8-minute mile vs doing a 10-minute mile, whereas someone else might consider a 10-minute mile a fast run. 

Everyone runs at different speeds, so if you feel like you’re running at a 12-minute mile then congratulations – you’re running!

Jogging vs running: which is better for legs?

In short, the answer is both! 

The muscles used in running and jogging are more or less the same. Both target the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors and core muscles. 

However, since running is a higher intensity activity, you may feel the burn in your legs that little bit more! But on the other hand, because you can jog for longer, you’ll be working those leg muscles for longer. 

So if you’re looking to strengthen your legs, both running and jogging are great ways to do so!

Is jogging or running right for me?

Ultimately, whether you choose jogging or running is simply a matter of personal preference.

If you’re new to fitness, recovering from an injury or simply need something lower impact for your knees, jogging is a great choice for you. However, if you want a quick calorie-burner or something higher intensity, choose running! 

As we have discussed, there are huge benefits to both activities. So why not try incorporating a mix of both jogging and running into your routine? Then you’ll reap the benefits of both! 

Before you go!

As we’ve seen, whilst there are some differences between jogging and running, there are clearly huge benefits to both! Whether you do jogging or running is ultimately a matter of personal preference. 

Take your passion for fitness to the next level by taking a personal training course with OriGym! Enquire today, or download our free prospectus to browse the full range of courses on offer. 

References 

Aerobic Exercise Decreases Chronic Allergic Lung Inflammation and Airway Remodeling in Mice. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Rodolfo P. et al. 2007. 176 (9). 

Written by Lauren Banks

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Lauren is a history graduate with a first-class degree from Lancaster University and is currently completing her Masters Degree. She worked on the university paper Scan for her 4 years there, eventually becoming the Carolynne Editor, overseeing 5 sections underneath her. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her lifting weights at the gym, trying to beat her current 5K personal best, or with her head in a long book.

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