Running vs. Jogging: What’s the Difference?

Running and jogging are very similar. It is common to use them interchangeably. They have the same form, and the same preparation, and utilize the same muscles. So what’s the difference?

Key takeaways:
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    Both exercises use the same muscles in your body and share many of the same benefits.
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    Jogging is moving at a leisurely pace while running is faster and typically tied to a training plan or race.
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    There are 7 types of runs, some include jogging.
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    When to run and when to jog is based on your goals and fitness experience.

Let’s discuss which muscles of your body you’re using, the benefits of these exercises, and compare the two. Lastly, consider which exercise is best for you.

Muscles engaged

Both exercises engage the same muscles, mostly in your lower body. These include but are not limited to your:

  • Glutes;
  • Quadriceps;
  • Hamstrings;
  • Calves.

Keep these muscle groups in mind when you are doing your post-workout stretches.

Don't overlook the work of your upper body. Your arms swing as you move to propel yourself forward. Your core keeps your body stable. It will also help you maintain posture and balance.

These are both full-body exercises with numerous benefits!

Benefits of these exercises

Both of these exercises will improve your cardiovascular system, lower your resting heart rate and have a high maximal oxygen consumption.

The most well-known benefits are:

  • They create stronger bones.
  • They increase your muscle strength.
  • They aid in weight loss and reduce your risk of some chronic diseases.
  • They can boost your mood, also known as runner’s high.
  • They will help you sleep better and relieve stress.

According to Paul T. Williams, running can decrease your risk of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes.

What is jogging?

Jogging is a low to medium-intensity workout that is typically more casual. It’s a generally slower pace but can last for any amount of time. It’s great for building stamina and endurance.

Typically, jogging is not tied to a training plan. If you go out for a jog and find yourself breathing fast and hard, slow down.

What is running?

Running is a medium to high-intensity workout. It’s a faster speed than jogging. Typically running follows a plan or is part of training for a larger goal such as a 5K or a marathon. It trains your aerobic system.

The Cleveland Clinic defines aerobic as “with oxygen.” This means “breathing controls the amount of oxygen that can make it to the muscles to help them burn fuel and move.” These are longer, more intense exercises.

Types of runs

The great thing about running is that there are options. Master Trainer Joe Holder identifies 7 types of runs.

  1. Base runs are runs at your natural pace for a short to moderate distance. The goal of these types of runs is to establish a routine and improve your endurance.
  2. Fartlek runs consist of interval training for long distances.
  3. Interval runs are speed workouts that alternate between running fast for a short distance and jogging through recovery.
  4. Long runs are exactly what they sound like, perfect for marathon and half marathon training.
  5. Recovery runs are easy runs for a short distance and at a slower pace. Here is where you can jog.
  6. Tempo runs are typically longer, up to 10 miles, and close to your race pace.
  7. Track runs focus on the ground surface. Tracks have more give and are great for speed intervals.

Running vs. jogging

So, what is the difference between running and jogging? The short answer is that one has a quicker pace than the other. That being said, there are many other variables to take into consideration.

Because running is a bit quicker, it’s even more imperative to focus on form. Jogging can have more of a bounce whereas running does not.

Because running is more intense, it forces your muscles, heart, and lungs to work harder. That will increase your metabolic rate more than jogging. This burns even more calories!

Overall, joggers are much more casual. They can hold conversations while working out, it’s more of a fun, leisurely activity. Runners on the other hand are more focused. They’re paying attention to their distance, speed, and goals.

When to run and when to jog

When to run and when to jog is entirely based on your goals and fitness experience.

It is important to differentiate between the two. You need to consider your goals to decide which type of workout is best for you.

Jogging is a great place to start if your goal is to lose weight, get back into fitness, or are recovering from an injury. It has less of an impact on your joints and bones. With time and experience, you can work your way up to running.

Running is more appropriate when you’re training for a race or want to build speed. If you’re following a training plan, more than likely, you’re running.

Running and jogging are very similar. They use the same form, the same muscles, and the same movements. The difference is speed and goals. Jogging is more leisurely, slower, and typically for fun. Running is faster and usually tied to an end goal such as running a 5K or a marathon.

It’s also up to personal preference. Do you consider yourself a runner or a jogger? When you work out, do you say you’re going for a run or a jog?

In the end, choose the correct movement for your goals and get moving. You’ll be enjoying the benefits in no time!


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