Running vs Jogging: The Great Debate

Running vs Jogging: The Great Debate - Run Leelanau
Am I running or jogging in this photo? Trick question, I’m dying at the end of a particularly hot half marathon

For some unknown reason, I absolutely loathe the term ‘jogging.’ I’m part of a social media group that recently had a discussion about this. For awhile, I thought I was the only one who became irked when the term ‘jog’ was used instead of ‘run.’ The discussion that took place regarding the difference between these two words was extremely validating. These individuals were able to put their dislike for the term into words I couldn’t seem to find. Some examples include:

“It feels demeaning”

“Women are often called joggers while men are called runners”

“Jogging often has a connotation that indicates slower movement. Running carries a faster connotation.”

“If you run, you are a runner. Some people walk, some people run. What is jogging?”

What I take away from these comments is that people associate jogging with slower movement, and runners are faster. It is offensive to call those who run ‘joggers’ (IF the person’s preferred term is running). I’m certain most people do not use the word ‘jogging’ to be offensive, however, awareness of its connotation never hurts.

Interestingly enough, I had a therapist who constantly used the term ‘jogger.’ I would tell him about running and how it is my best coping mechanism, and when he would discuss it back with me, he always turned the word ‘run’ into ‘jog.’ I never thought to ask him why he did it. The significance here is that this therapist was not using the same words that I, the client, was using. As a therapist I can tell you – that’s therapy 101, yo. As a therapist, you use the terminology your client uses. It makes the client feel heard, validated, and understood.

So my takeaway here is that when speaking with a person who runs or jogs, use their preferred term for the activity. I dislike the term ‘jog’ but others may use it fondly.  Just like anything else in life, be respectful and strive to understand why someone uses specific, descriptive words. Who knows, maybe I’m overthinking all this terminology.

Do you call yourself a runner or a jogger? Why? And what are your thoughts on the difference between the words?

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