Friday, February 4, 2011

Running or Jogging

The other day I posted my run on dailymile, which was then cross-posted onto my Facebook page. My brother noticed it and, innocently enough, commented that I'd probably get more exercise snowshoeing up north than jogging down south. The use of the word "jogging" later caught the attention of my friend, Kym, who good naturedly joked that running sub-8s didn't fall into that category.

We don't talk about it much in the running community. If we did it might come across as being pompous or arrogant, and Lord knows we don't want to embody the guy in the video to the right. We are, after all, a generally humble group of people that relish personal achievements and talk about them in hushed tones. But that doesn't change the fact that many of us flinch when what we do is referred to as jogging, right?

So, in the interests of clarity, what's the difference? In my mind what separates runners from joggers is passion. A runner will wake up at 4:30 in the morning and go for a run because they love it. They will, more times than not, brave the elements no matter how hot, humid, cold, windy or snowy it is. And on those rare occasions where conditions are unbearable we'll suck it up and run on a treadmill. We look for ways to get our run in, and don't do it just because it happens to be a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. The problem with this definition is that most non-runners don't know the lengths we go to for our sport.

Are there are other factors that separate the two? How about the pace, for instance? Here's what you'll find in the dictionary:

Jog, –verb. To run at a leisurely, slow pace, especially as an outdoor exercise.

Run, –verb. To go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground.

Pretty vauge, but the gist is that runners are faster than joggers. Whatever the case, I'm not sure you'll find a concrete answer that separates the two. And I imagine some might even argue that distance plays a role in this debate.

What say you? Are you a runner or a jogger? Neither? Both? Where do you stand on this most controversial of issues? Can you think of other ways to appropriately classify each term? Even better, if you gently correct someone saying the J word, how do you approach it? Humor? Ridicule? Let me know in the comments.


  1. I'm a jogger and have no problem being called a jogger. I might jog 14 miles in a stretch, but I'm not out there a slave to the Garmin or kicking myself when I don't meet a "goal." In fact, if I set a goal it's always flexible. I will never "disappoint" myself with a jog. Flip side: I'm very rarely "proud" of a workout either.
    That said, anyone who does more than walk today is a runner. Anyone who's willing to stick with a routine for months or years "gets" to be a runner.
    Maybe the difference is the level of horror which would attack the person if told they can't run for a month. Joggers can probably take that in stride much better than someone who demands to be called "runner."

  2. Hilary, I think your theory on how a one would react to a forced layoff has merit. I would struggle with that a lot.

  3. Yes, it's the passion and not so much the pace. I also really like that "level of horror" perspective from Hilary. Haven't seen it put that way before, but that's the whole truth!

  4. I know you knew I was kidding when I wrote that. Pace has nothing to do with being a runner/jogger. Hilary, I see you as a runner -- but you'll never agree with me :)

    As for the "level of horror," I've found it easier to take days off for injury. A month? Been there. The last time I had to take a month off, it didn't bother me. I knew what I had to do to get better, and that was to stay off the leg. I knew I'd be back. Ask me this question a few years ago, and I would have been devastated. Maybe as the years add on, I'm more accepting to what I have to do.

  5. Oooo I know! Maybe it's whether you rest at a jog or at a walk. That seemed to be some big milestone for me: feeling well-rested after just slowing down the pace for a minute or so. Before then, I had to walk to rest/ drink/ whatever. Yeah?