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3 Key Differences Between Jogging and Running—and When to Do Each

Spoiler: It's not about hitting a certain pace.

By Jen Ator March 28, 2024


People around the world regularly lace up their sneakers to clock a few miles. But have you ever wondered why some are called “joggers,” while others are “runners”? 

Experts say the concept of “jogging” rose to popularity in the 1970s. “The term ‘jogging' can be traced back to longtime Oregon running coach Bill Bowerman,” says Philadelphia-based running and cross-country coach Dave Thomas. “His book about jogging is seen as the kickoff to the whole getting-in-shape and getting-moving trend. In that context, joggers were seen as not as serious.”

Over the years, the depiction and distinction between the two words has been hotly—and perhaps unnecessarily—debated. In this article, we’ll break down the differences between running and jogging and offer suggestions on how to make both work in your weekly routine. 

Jogging vs. Running: The Main Differences

You may assume pace is the biggest difference between running and jogging. But that’s not exactly accurate. 

“There is nothing that says if you move at a certain pace, you are a jogger or a runner,” says Peloton instructor Jeffrey McEachern. “Some people will say the cut off point is around 6 mph (or 10 minute-per-mile pace). But because we are all built differently, and we all have different histories, abilities, and goals, we are all going to run at different paces.” 

Thomas, who has completed more than 75 marathons, agrees. “I used to run a 6-minute mile,” he says. “I’m 67 now, and I run a 9-minute mile, but I’m still in shape and still losing weight.”

Rather than focusing on whether or not you’re hitting a certain speed, consider these three key differences between jogging and running.


While both jogging and running are considered full body workouts, the biggest difference you’ll notice between the two is when it comes to your form. 

“In general, the key factors are all there—your elbows are driving north to south at a 90-degree angle, you’re engaging your core and your glutes, and you’re driving your knees up,” Jeffrey says. “It’s the overall intensity or force of that movement that differs.”

When jogging, your arms don’t need to drive as much—and your upper body works a little less than it would while running. Additionally, your knees may not have to come as high as they would in a run.


Running is generally considered a higher intensity activity than jogging, says Michael Ryan, an exercise physiologist. “Running involves a faster pace and greater exertion, leading to higher heart rates, increased oxygen consumption, and greater energy expenditure compared to jogging.” 

But keep in mind: This is all in regards to your personal fitness—not anyone else’s. A pro runner might jog at an eight-minute mile pace, whereas a newer runner might consider that speed a run.

This is why your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) can be a helpful tool. It’s a simple, subjective scale from one to 10 that helps you evaluate how easy or hard a workout feels to you. “Jogging would be between two and four (out of 10), whereas running could be anything between four and eight,” Jeffrey says. “Anything above eight would be considered a sprint.”


“As far as jogging versus running, there are no specific paces that define them,” Thomas says. “It’s more of an attitude. It’s all about how you define yourself.”

Joggers tend to be people who want to improve their health. They might just like getting outside to enjoy the weather or the scenery, rather than adhering to a planned schedule. 

Runners, on the other hand, tend to be more structured and focused on performance. Their routine is typically centered on a specific goal or race—say, improving their mile time or completing a marathon. (Note: You don’t have to run races to consider yourself a “runner.” From Jeffrey’s perspective: “If you’ve moved your body past walking or power-walking pace, you are a runner.”)

Jogging vs. Running: The Main Benefits of Each

It's important to recognize that both jogging and running are beneficial for your health, Ryan says. “Rather than debating which is superior, individuals should focus on finding the right balance of pace and effort that aligns with their fitness goals, preferences, and physical abilities.” 

1. Run to Work Your Muscles 

Both running and jogging are full body workouts, improve your cardiovascular system, reduce your risk for chronic diseases, increase muscle strength, and strengthen your bones and joints, Jeffrey says. 

“The only real difference is that when you run, your muscles have to work harder,” he says. “It gives you the opportunity to work in different exertion zones to train your aerobic and anaerobic systems, and your metabolic rate is a little higher.” 

2. Jog to Build Endurance

“Jogging is definitely more a low- to moderate-intensity level exercise,” Jeffrey says. “It works your aerobic system, which means that your body builds the ability to produce energy with oxygen.” This is key to building stamina and endurance for those longer or harder runs, he adds.

3. Both Help Your Mental and Emotional Health

Running and jogging don’t just boost your physical health. They also can help strengthen your mind. Regardless of which effort level you gravitate toward, this type of cardiovascular exercise has serious benefits for your mental and emotional health

How to Progress from Jogging to Running

If you’re a self-described jogger who wants to shift into running, here’s how to progress safely and effectively. 

1. Be Patient 

“Once cleared by a doctor, start low and build slow,” Thomas says. It takes time for your body—your heart and lungs, as well as your muscles, bones, and tendons—to adjust to the impact of running. Try using the 10-percent rule, which means increasing your total mileage by no more than 10 percent each week. For example, if you’re currently jogging two miles twice a week, add just 0.4 miles to your weekly volume. 

2. Focus on Form 

“I say this in class all the time: Posture before speed,” Jeffrey says. “Make sure that before you take it any faster, that your form is on point. It is not worth losing your posture because you will lose energy, meaning running is going to be even harder.” 

3. Start with Short Sections 

“I love short running sections,” Jeffrey says. “I love a good walk plus run. If you want to start running for a certain amount of time, do interval runs, where you can walk during the recovery periods if you need to or jog them, depending on how confident you feel. Use that time to build up confidence and to get to running comfortably with the correct form.”

4. Ignore Your Pace 

We’ve already debunked that your speed does not determine whether or not you are a runner—so don’t make your pace the main focus of your workout. “No one cares as much about your pace as you do, so don’t beat yourself up about it,” Jeffrey says. “Give yourself that grace, train for the right reasons, and let that ego go.” Instead, pivot your attention to your effort. 

How to Incorporate Both Jogging and Running Into Your Routine

There are plenty of effective ways to integrate jogging and running into your weekly workout routine. But the most essential tip is to develop a routine you can stick with. 

If you’re a new runner, start with three sessions a week. “I believe that if you repeat it three times a week, it will be easier to stay consistent because you can take that pattern into the next week,” Jeffrey says. 

He recommends a simple weekly schedule that you can build upon over time: 

  1. Walk + Run. “Try using different intervals of walking and running,” Jeffrey says. For example, start with one minute of running and four minutes of walking. Each week, see if you can extend the length of your run and shorten the length of your walk.

  2. Run. “It can be a five-minute run, or a 10-minute run,” he says. “Any distance or time that you feel comfortable with.” 

  3. Walk + Run. “Again, your goal here is to keep building more confidence and stamina.”

If you’re already running and looking to start training for a race, adhering to three runs a week can still be beneficial. “I would say it again—three times a week— because that's how I believe you stay consistent and confident,” Jeffrey says. Sticking to a routine can help get you out the door on the days when you lack motivation, he adds.

Your runs will change depending on the race you’re training for, but your schedule can be simple: one fun run, one speed run, and one long run. “In that fun run and that long run, allow yourself to run slower if you need to,” he says. Those easy efforts are key to continued progress. “When I train for anything, I’d rather slow down so I can get the mileage or time that I was aiming to get instead of a pace. Mileage and time on feet will always make you stronger than if you’re trying to chase a pace and push yourself too fast too soon.”


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