What Is the Difference Between a Jogger and a Runner?

Some people say “to-may-toe” and others “to-mah-toe,” and that’s how you view the terms running and jogging. You use them interchangeably. You’ve seen your running friends have some pretty strange reactions when you do though. That has you wondering, is there really a difference between being a jogger and a runner, and if so, what?

The main difference between jogging and running is the pace, in which joggers go slower and more relaxed. Runners are usually training to better themselves or prepare for a race, so there’s little leisure time in what they’re doing.

Are you still a little confused? That’s okay. In this article, we’ll further define joggers versus runners and highlight the differences between the two. We’ll even have a section on whether you might offend runners by calling them joggers, so keep reading! 

What Is a Jogger?

If you look up a basic definition of a jogger, you’ll see that it’s something like “someone who jogs.” That’s not really helpful though, so let’s go a little deeper. 

Jogging is the basic action of putting one foot in front of the other and gaining stride as you do. It sounds a lot like running and at times it can look just like running, which blurs the line. As a jogger though, you don’t disappear in a blur down the trail at all. 

According to Healthline, the average speed of a jogger is 4 to 6 miles per hour, which is a moderate speed. You’re traveling at a faster rate than if you were walking, but you’re not quite running either. You maybe could if you wanted to, but the point of jogging is to keep it simple. Even Lexico, as part of the Oxford Dictionary, says jogging should be done “at a steady, gentle pace.”

So how do you know when you’re jogging? Compare it to your pace when you walk. Are you going faster? Do you feel like you’re putting more into it? Healthline notes that your heart rate should be at around 130 to 157 beats per minute while you jog, but do keep in mind that factors such as your age, level of fitness, and health can all play a role in your achievable heart rate. 

Why would someone jog? Well, since you’re going faster than you do when walking and getting your heart rate up higher, that means you’re burning more calories. Whether you’re interested in losing weight or maintaining your current weight, many people strive for calorie-burning when engaging in physical fitness.

Also, walking can be very casual because it’s something we do all the time. You don’t think of it as exercise when you walk across your kitchen to make breakfast or take a quick stroll around your office building to reach your cubicle, right? Jogging feels more like exercise, which can make it more appealing than walking.

The last reason someone might jog is that it’s easy. All you have to do is go at a somewhat faster pace than you do when walking. In other words, if you can walk–which most people can–then you can jog. There are no bulky weights to lift, not a lot of physical exertion, and it isn’t difficult.  

What Is a Runner?

No, we’re not going to say a runner is someone who runs, even though it’s technically true. 

Like with jogging, running is all about the motion of your legs. You put one foot in front of the other, moving your arms back and forth naturally as you do.  To break into a running pace, you may start off jogging, but you don’t remain there long. An average runner may achieve speeds of 8 MPH as they hit the trail, though it’s possible for some runners to reach speeds of 10 MPH and up. 

Since your physical efforts are more strenuous when running, expect that you’ll have a higher heart rate. Healthline, in a separate link, shares this data on running heart rate by age:

  • 20 years old – 100 to 170 beats per minute and no more than 200 beats per minute
  • 30 years old – 95 to 162 beats per minute and no more than 190 beats per minute
  • 35 years old – 93 to 157 beats per minute and no more than 185 beats per minute
  • 40 years old – 90 to 153 beats per minute and no more than 180 beats per minute
  • 45 years old – 88 to 149 beats per minute and no more than 175 beats per minute
  • 50 years old – 85 to 145 beats per minute and no more than 170 beats per minute
  • 60 years old – 80 to 136 beats per minute and no more than 160 beats per minute 

Compared to jogging, how do you know when you’re running? Well, the most reliable means of determining that is to use a heart rate monitor. If your heart rate is around 130 beats per minute and you’re younger, then you’re probably jogging, but if it’s higher, that means you’re running.

You can also download an app to track your performance on the trail, many of such apps that we’ve recommended on our blog. If you’re reaching or exceeding 8 MPH, then you’re reliably running. If you’re going slower, then you’re jogging.

Why do people run? There are so many reasons, most of which we’ve covered here on the blog before. Perhaps you want to bring your family together, you wish to train your lower body muscles, or you want to experience other benefits such as losing weight, shedding body fat, bettering your metabolism, or reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. Running can do all that, making it very appealing!  

What’s the Difference Between Jogging and Running?

Now that we’ve more clearly defined running and jogging, you can probably tell that they’re not the same. Here are four key differences between these forms of physical activity. 


Remember, as a jogger, speed is not really a priority. By going at a jogging pace, you’ll naturally reach speeds of around 4 MPH, perhaps 6 MPH if you’re really raring to go. When you’re running, since you’re focusing more on speed, you move faster, at about 8 MPH but sometimes even quicker.

Joggers may track their speed, but more in relation to gauging their heart rate rather than trying to beat a record. Runners enjoy the challenge of outdoing themselves, smashing their own records. They also may strive to beat their friends’ records for the fun of it.

This is all part of training so a runner can test their speed and mettle against others in a race or even a marathon. There aren’t really races made just for joggers, so there’s no need for such scrutiny on your speed down to the minute and the second.  


A jogger might decide to go around their block because it’s a beautiful day outside or since they want to get some exercise in. A runner has a whole routine built around what they do. Remember, it’s all about training to improve so they can run faster, burn more calories, lose more weight, or win that gold medal.

It’s for those reasons that a runner might be up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning or even running on the trail during a light drizzle. A jogger, on the other hand, would wake up, see that it’s raining, and probably decide to do something else for their exercise that day. 


Although this isn’t true of all runners, many build parts of their identity around being a runner. To them, it’s a point of pride to tell people about the races they’ve competed in, the miles they’ve logged, and the prizes they’ve taken home. Joggers may be passionate about what they do, but not always to the extent of a runner.


The degree of difficulty between jogging and running is also certainly a key difference. Runners jog to warm up and when they need to take a break, but for the most part, they’re hitting full stride. This is going to require the use of their muscles far more strenuously than jogging. Runners also need stamina and endurance, qualities that joggers have but less of. Thus, running is the harder activity of the two. 

Do Runners Get Offended by Being Called Joggers? What about Vice-Versa?

So what happens if you call a runner a jogger? Is that regarded as a derogatory term or is it no big deal? Surely, not everyone knows the differences between running and jogging for it to matter much, right?

 Just take a look at this image courtesy of Active.com. It says “run like someone just called you a jogger.”

We think that’s clear enough. Runners know that jogging is a relaxed form of what they do where the rules are much more loosely-defined. To call them a jogger can, in the eyes of some runners, undermine their performance because it infers that they don’t take running seriously. The sign in the image above shows that, by calling a runner a jogger, you could inspire them to try harder and run faster so they can prove to you that nope, they’re definitely not jogging. They’re running. 

Given that running is held in such high esteem, if you turn around and call a jogger a runner, that would be regarded as a compliment, wouldn’t it? Actually, no! While this isn’t true of all joggers, many of them don’t like being called runners. 

First of all, they’re not actually running, so it’s inaccurate. More so than just that, telling a jogger that they’re a runner puts undue pressure on them. They feel like they have to shape up and speed up because that’s what you’re now expecting of them. 

To be clear, these are generalizations to an extent. Many runners and joggers won’t care what you call them, but some do indeed take offense to being mislabeled. 

Is Running Healthier Than Jogging? Is Jogging Healthier Than Running?

The last area of running versus jogging we wanted to address is whether one activity is healthier than the other. 

Both running and jogging are healthy; even walking is. Any activity in which you get up, increase your heart rate, and work up a sweat is good for you, but certain exercises definitely burn more calories than others.

We once again refer you to the American Council on Exercise or ACE’s Fit Facts form. ACE compares the calories burnt per minute when jogging versus running, so let’s take a closer look, shall we?

As a jogger, here are the number of calories you burn per minute:

  • 120 pounds – 9.3 calories a minute
  • 140 pounds – 10.8 calories a minute
  • 160 pounds – 12.4 calories a minute
  • 180 pounds – 13.9 calories a minute

If you weigh 120 pounds and you jog for 30 minutes, you’d burn 279 calories, and in 60 minutes, 558 calories. At 140 pounds, jogging for 30 minutes torches 324 calories and a 60-minute jog burns 648 calories.

A jogger weighing 160 pounds will burn 372 calories after 30 minutes of activity and 744 calories in an hour. If you weigh 180 pounds, you’d torch 417 calories in 30 minutes and 834 calories after an hour of jogging.

The good news is that, compared to activities such as weight-training, swimming at a moderate pace, playing basketball, hiking, and cycling, you torch more calories on a jog. The bad news is that you burn between 2 and 3 calories more per minute when running. Here’s that breakdown courtesy of ACE:

  • 120 pounds – 11.4 calories a minute
  • 140 pounds – 13.2 calories a minute
  • 160 pounds – 15.1 calories a minute
  • 180 pounds – 17.0 calories a minute

So if you weigh 120 pounds and you run instead of jog, you’d burn 342 calories in 30 minutes and 684 calories in an hour. A runner who’s 140 pounds could torch 396 calories during a 30-minute run and up to 792 calories by running for a full hour. 

At 160 pounds, you’d burn 453 calories in 30 minutes and up to 906 calories running for a full hour. Those weighing 180 pounds could burn 510 calories after a half-hour of running and 1,020 calories in an hour.

Final Thoughts

Jogging and running might seem like very similar activities, but you know now that that isn’t the case. Jogging is more leisurely while running is typically quite strenuous. At the end of the day though, whether you run or jog, any physical activity is better than none, so keep it up! 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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