While it may seem simple on the surface, the sport of running actually involves quite a few variations. Some athletes might refer to themselves runners, while others describe themselves as joggers… and then there are the sprinters.
Is there a difference between jogging vs sprinting? Are running and sprinting the same thing?
These questions, along with many others, are often some of the first things beginners wrestle with as they get started with the sport. Many mistakenly consider these terms interchangeable when there is actually quite a difference between them all.
The Difference Between Jogging vs Sprinting
Understanding the differences between jogging vs sprinting will not only bring clarity to your training, but it can help structure your workouts to provide you with the most targeted activity to reach your goals.
There are a surprising number of differences between jogging vs sprinting. Jogging refers to a type of aerobic exercise which is usually quite a bit less intense than sprinting. Many athletes use the terms jogging and running interchangeably, most commonly to describe their low intensity training.
Sprinting, on the other hand, is primarily an anaerobic activity. Sprinting refers to a much higher intensity level of effort, requiring usually around 90-95% of your body’s maximum effort.
What pace is considered running vs sprinting?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. When it comes to jogging vs sprinting, the difference is much more easily identified based on effort – not a generic pace.
In general, when sprinting, your body is utilizing maximum effort. The pace at which you sprint is not one that can be maintained over long periods of time.
On the other hand, jogging refers to much less intense efforts. Your jogging pace is usually one that is much slower, less exhaustive, and can be maintained for many miles.
Is sprinting or jogging better?
Ah, the golden question. Deciding between jogging vs sprinting will depend on what you are hoping to accomplish with your fitness routine and workouts. Each type of activity has its own unique benefits, and when completed correctly, both can be incredibly beneficial for your health and training.
The Benefits of Sprinting
Sprinting is unique from other forms of running because it is primarily anaerobic. This means that sprinting pushes the body to its limits, working at 90-95% of your maximum heart rate. At this level of intensity, your body has to use its reserves to keep your muscles operating.
Does sprinting burn more calories than running?
A common question in regards to sprinting vs jogging (or running) is whether one or the other burns more calories.
At maximum intensity, your body breaks down glucose and extra calories from stored fat to maintain its pace and effort, as opposed to the simple, fast-acting sugars your body uses for jogging.
Related: 1 Minute Running Interval Workout
The type of anaerobic exercise that occurs when sprinting might help burn fat at a higher rate than jogging. In simple terms, our bodies are able to adapt to the slow, steady pace we maintain when jogging, thus requiring less energy (or calories) to maintain its efforts.
When sprinting, your muscles are in a continuous state of fluctuation. The drastic changes in speed that occur when starting and stopping a sprint promote the flexibility of fast twitch muscle fibers, which has been shown to increase growth.
Sample sprinting workouts
Lucky for us – sprinting workouts don’t need to be complicated. Throwing in just a few short sprints during your regular easy runs can help increase your turnover and prevent your body from adapting to the same, consistent effort.
In general, the shorter the sprint, the faster you will want to run. For sprints of 50 meters or less, try sprinting at 100% of your maximum effort. As the length of your sprint increases, decrease your effort slightly – but be sure to maintain a much higher intensity than jogging.
Try incorporating a few of these short sprints into your next jog.
- 50 meters repeated 3-5x at maximum effort
- 100 meters repeated 5-8x at 85% effort
- 200 meters repeated 3-5x at 80% effort
- 400 meters repeated 2-4x at 75% effort
The Benefits of Jogging
While sprinting may burn more fat and promote muscle gains, jogging has quite a few benefits of its own. If you are looking to establish a fitness routine of any kind, jogging is certainly the way to go. The easier, more consistent efforts required when jogging are much more sustainable over long periods of time.
Jogging is a type of aerobic exercise, which helps improve your heart strength and increase your overall cardiovascular capacity. The sustained state of activity encourages the release of endorphins, a feel-good chemical that can actually help improve your mood.
Whether you are looking to lose weight, improve your muscle tone, burn fat, or simple establish a new running routine, a combination of jogging and sprinting is a great way to get started.
When to incorporate jogging vs sprinting
Mixing things up between jogging vs sprinting will help avoid any plateaus in your fitness and support your entire body as it improves physically.
When creating a training schedule, aim to complete most of your runs by jogging. The majority of your mileage each week should be completed at an easier, sustainable effort. Try to run about 75% of your mileage at an easy, jogging effort.
For the remaining 25%, throw in some sprints and high intensity workouts. Try incorporating a few short, fast sprints to get the feel for it at first, and then start mixing things up with varying sprinting workouts.
Designate one day each week for these higher intensity sprinting workouts. During the remaining runs, throw in a few short strides or sprinting intervals just to practice your turnover and keep your legs moving.
Understanding the difference between sprinting vs jogging will set you up for maximum success during training. Incorporate various levels of intensity each week to avoid hitting any plateaus and achieve maximum success over time.