The Difference Between Jogging, Running and Sprinting

There is definitely a big difference between jogging, running and sprinting. Therefore, it's not a surprise that runners hate being called joggers, although far too many people use those terms interchangeably. The only thing that makes running and jogging even remotely similar is that they are both forms of aerobic exercises. Sprinting, however, falls in its own separate category.  Let's examine what makes those three activities so different from each other.


Jogging

Jogging

First, jogging requires a lot less effort than running because it's a less intense form of aerobic exercise. One of the biggest differences is, of course, the pace. In order for a jog to be considered a run, a person's pace should be about 10 minutes per mile or faster. Anything slower than 10 minutes per mile is generally considered a jog. Keep in mind, however, that pace is often subjective. Therefore, for some people, a 14 minute mile may feel like a run if they are starting their fitness journey.


Running

Running

Although jogging and running both use the aerobic system, jogging will allow you to burn a higher percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates. When you are running, you still burn fat but your body will also demand more carbohydrates than if you were just jogging. Running takes far more energy than jogging and it definitely burns more calories. Think of jogging as something that runners do to warm up before they race a 10k or a half marathon while shooting for a personal best time.


Sprinting

Sprinting

Sprinting, on the other hand, requires a completely different energy system and is therefore in its own category.  It uses the anaerobic energy system, which means that it does not require oxygen. However, since oxygen is not used, we are not meant to sprint for long periods of time. Sprinting is usually used to describe an activity that requires you to go full out for less than 600m. When you are sprinting, you are going as fast as you can and it is very intense. After finishing your sprint, you are forced to breathe extremely hard in order to make up for the oxygen deficit that you encountered during it. Anaerobic activity falls into two categories: lactate and phosphocreatine. You can rely on the phosphocreatine system if you are doing a sprint that lasts less than 20 seconds. However, if you have to go as fast as you can for over 20 seconds but for less than three minutes, you will need to rely on the lactate system. After the initial three minutes of sprinting, it becomes very difficult to maintain that pace. With that in mind, you are forced to slow down to a more comfortable running pace in order to clear the lactic acid from your body. If you are still having difficulty with lactic acid, you may need to reduce your pace to a jog until you are able to speed up again.


As we can see, apart from the differences in pace and effort, sprinting, running and jogging use different energy systems. For this reason, it is important that if you decide to integrate one of these into your daily or weekly routine that it will help, not go against, your fitness goals.



Sergio Pedemonte is a Your House Fitness personal trainer based in Toronto, ON.