Jogging, Running, Sprinting – What’s The Difference?

Jogging, Running, Sprinting - What's The Difference
A pretty common question we get here at Treadmill Reviews is about the differences between jogging, running, and sprinting. In many cases, jogging and running are used interchangeably, though they are describing different levels of exertion. Sprinting is a bit more clear, though newer runners may not have the fine points down.

Speed Helps To Differentiate Jogging, Running, And Sprinting

The main differences between these three types of running are the intensity and speed. However, how fast you need to go to count as running or sprinting are less easily defined.


In the sense of speed, jogging is usually classified as being under six miles per hour (MPH). However, that isn’t the only metric that defines jogging. For some people, hitting speeds just under six MPH is sprinting. So, another way to look at jogging is if you are able to breathe easily and carry a conversation with your workout buddy as you workout.

Heart rate zone training that calls for you to work at light intensity or zone two is also a way to define jogging. At heart rate zone two, you should be exercising at 60-70% of your max heart rate. This lower intensity workout is great to help build base endurance as well as increases your overall stamina without overly taxing your body.


While running raises the intensity of your workout, it is still an aerobic activity, which means you are still taking in plenty of oxygen. General convention puts running between six MPH and ten MPH. This metric obviously applies to more experienced runners, as newcomers often have to build up to that kind of sustained pace. Breathing shouldn’t be overly strained, but you will need to rhythmically breathe to prevent side stitches from developing.

With running, you can span heart rate zones three and four, going from 70-90% of your max heart rate as you workout. Often, running training schedules will break down these runs into tempo runs (heart rate zone three), and race pace runs (heart rate zone four) to help you know how hard you should be pushing your body.


Sprinting is an anaerobic activity, which breaks down the glucose in your body for your energy needs without utilizing oxygen. With this process, you get an explosive burst of energy, which is vital in sprinting.

As this type of movement isn’t sustainable for more than a few minutes maximum, sprinting is done either in intervals for training purposes or at the end of a run to push for the last bit of a runner’s energy. It falls into the 90-100% heart rate zone and helps you build greater explosive power.

Should You Jog, Run, Or Sprint?

When running or sprinting, you are more likely to sustain overuse injuries. You can alleviate some of these injuries by doing things like running on trails and utilizing one of the best treadmills for running. But which type of workout you should be doing also depends on your workout goals. Some examples of goals and the associated running workout are below:

  • Build up cardio after an injury — jog
  • Burn high number of calories — run
  • Develop greater muscle mass — sprint
  • Experience fat burn — jog
  • Sculpt lower body shape — run
  • Boost VO2 max — sprint
  • Build greater endurance and stamina — jog
  • Increase cardiovascular health — run
  • Kickstart metabolism — sprint

However, the list above is just what each exercise does best. There is plenty of research that supports that these benefits often overlap whether you are jogging, running, or sprinting. So, which type of running you do should be based on your fitness needs and goals.

Whether you are an avid runner, a sprint training enthusiast, or prefer a good jog, the most important thing you can do is be consistent with your workouts. Because, no matter how fast or slow you’re going, you’re still lapping the people on the couch!

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