Which Word Wednesday: Jog vs. Run

By June 6, 2012 language 2 Comments

Happy National Running Day! The NRD campaign asks us to complete this phrase: “I run . . .” My answer? Although I run for lots of reasons, this weekend I run to raise money for Avishi, one of the girls I met on my trip to India with As Our Own. And there’s still time to donate!

I’m celebrating NRD 2012 by logging in a few miles with Runner Friend Becky . . . in preparation for this weekend’s half marathon in Chicago. (eek!!) And for all my fellow movers-and-shakers (ahem) out there, I also present this running-inspired Which Word Wednesday to discuss that cosmic question of the difference between a jog and a run.

For non-joggers/runners, this question may seem silly. But within Runningdom, substituting jog for run is dead giveaway that you are an outsider. And there’s no need for that! So let’s start with definitions from The Oxford American Dictionary:

jog :: verb
run at a steady gentle pace, esp. on a regular basis as a form of physical exercise; move at a slow trot

run :: verb
move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all the feet on the ground at the same time; run as a sport or for exercise

These words both describe physical movement that is engaged in specifically for exercise. But the nuances of the definitions give greater insight into the proper usage.

By definition, jogging is running “at a steady gentle pace,” “at a slow trot.” It is done casually, for enjoyment. Running is engaged in competitively as a sport. It is done quickly, “never having both . . . feet on the ground at the same time.”

By experience, I use the term jogging to provide context to my approach to running: I run regularly, but my complete lack of competitiveness means that I do not care who beats me (well, except when it comes to costumed runners—sometimes I feel the need to cross the finish line ahead of them). I also use the words trot, jaunt, and shuffle to describe my activity.

However, I would never describe the Hubster’s regimen as jogging. He is a true runner, competing and training with a goal of running a super-fast 5K on the national level. He does not jog or go for a trot, jaunt, or shuffle. He runs.

As for when a jogger turns into a runner, well, that’s a mystery for another day.

What’s my WWW verdict? All jogging is running but not all running is jogging.

What’s your verdict? Do you make these mental distinctions for jog vs. run? Do you know when a jogger becomes a runner? How will you celebrate National Running Day? Do share in the comments.

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Check out previous Which Word Wednesday verdicts here.

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