5 Differences Between Jogging and Running

Jogging and running are two quite different activities. Learn more about both here, including their differences and similarities. They both have the same basic idea: moving fast on your legs.
5 Differences Between Jogging and Running

Last update: 21 April, 2021

Many people use these two terms as synonyms, but the reality is that they are quite different activities. The differences between jogging and running might be obvious to professional trainers or athletes, but not apparent to a casual observer.

It’s good to know the features of both of these sports and above all the differences between them. That way, you’ll know what you’re getting into if you get invited to do one of them, and you’ll avoid misunderstandings!

What is jogging?

Let’s start by defining each activity, before getting to the differences between jogging and running. When we talk about jogging, it means trotting or running slowly, but deliberately. For instance, it’s faster than walking or trekking, but slower than running. The idea of this activity is to maintain the same speed throughout.

A standard definition or speed for jogging doesn’t exactly exist. However, when you’re jogging, your speed is likely to be between four and six miles an hour.

One way of identifying a jogger is by the way they move, with a rolling gait and flowing movements. This is because when someone’s jogging they have to balance their feet on the ground while they keep moving. A jogger doesn’t need to be too precise in their movements. Their arms will swing slightly while they keep their hands in front of their body.

An older couple jogging.

You’re also likely to see older adults jogging since it’s a healthy yet easy activity for them. People who like to do social activities with their friends often choose to go jogging with others. It’s a great way to get some exercise in your spare time and stay in shape.

And what about running?

Running is a sport where the objective is to cover a specific distance in the least amount of time possible. For that reason, speed and endurance are very important qualities for a runner.

In the same way, someone who runs won’t just do it for the sport itself or for the physical benefits they can get, but rather to reach certain goals and objectives. In the world of running, you’ll find races and marathons, something you won’t find with jogging.

What about the movement style of running? Runners move in straight lines, coordinating their arms and legs. Those who participate in this sport know that the way they strike the ground can determine the results, so they generally put their toes on the ground first, then their heel.

A runner will move their arms backward and forward to increase their momentum, and they’ll keep their trunk straight, slightly leaning forward. It’s worth pointing out that runners seek to improve at each step. They aim to gain an advantage over either their previous times or their competitors, even if this improvement is just a couple of milliseconds.

Main differences between jogging and running

We’ve already had a look at some of the features of these activities as well as some of their differences. Now let’s take a closer look to completely clear up any doubts.

1. Planning

Runners have certain guidelines or established routines when going for a run, whether it’s to do with distance, time, or their route. On the other hand, joggers generally just go for fun or to get some exercise during their spare time.

2. Jogging and running movements

As we mentioned above, these two activities have different techniques. Joggers either move by putting their foot flat or their heel on the ground first, and they keep their arms pretty much in the same position with their hands out in front of their body. However, runners put their toes or the ball of their foot on the ground first, followed by their heel. They also use their arms to gain momentum and go faster.

A runner training in the zone.

3. Speed and intensity

A jogger’s speed is generally pretty relaxed, and therefore it’s a medium to low-intensity exercise. Jogging does take a certain amount of effort, but not as much as running. Running on the other hand is a high-intensity exercise because the person is trying to beat their own times, or their competitors if they’re in a competition.

4. Jogging vs running: rhythm

It’s also good to note that a jogger’s rhythm is usually stable and continuous, depending on the physical condition of the person. But runners change up their rhythm during training to get the best performance.

5. Sports equipment

Here’s one last area where jogging and running are different. In the first case, joggers tend to use normal sportswear – leggings, a T-shirt, etc, while runners will have more specialized clothing and equipment.

With all of the above in mind, you might tend to believe that jogging is inferior to running, or at least simpler and less demanding. However, don’t forget that each of these activities has its own features and its own specific objectives.


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.