The Definition of a “Real Runner”

What is a “real runner”? Ever since I first started running, I’ve always wondered: when would I be considered a real runner? What separates the “runners” from the “joggers”? Also, why do some runners get so mad when they are referred to as “joggers”?

What is a real runner?

In my books, simply put, a real runner is anyone who puts on a pair of running shoes and runs. No, they don’t need to run a sub 8 minute mile to be considered a real runner. Some snobby “runners” will say that anyone who is not capable of going faster than 9 minutes per mile should be called a jogger.  At the end of the day, if you run, no matter how fast or how slow, you are a runner. Give yourself the credit you deserve and stop putting some arbitrary numerical value on what separates the joggers from the runners. To be honest, at the end of the day, both running and jogging have health benefits. The pace you choose to go is entirely up to you. It often depends on what you are trying to get out of your exercise routine.

When did I become a “real” runner?

I became a real runner the moment I joined my junior high cross-country running team way back in Grade 7. To be honest, I finished dead last in many of my first few races. I still think that even back then, I was a real runner. I trained consistently and tried hard to improve my speed. Later on, I did and I was winning races. I referred to myself as a real runner long before I ever won any races even though there were many people who tried to rain on my parade. HAHAHA.

What separates the runners from the joggers?

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 generally be about 10 minutes per mile or faster. Anything slower than 10 minutes per mile is usually 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. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. If you run a 14 minute mile and that’s the best you can do, kudos to you for getting out there and doing it. I promise you will get better if you stay consistent.

Although jogging and running both use the aerobic system, jogging will allow you to burn a higher percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates.There is a time and place for both running and jogging. However, all these numbers used in this example are subjective and vary between individuals.

I urge everyone who is reading this article to take these numbers with a grain of salt.

Above: Photo by IMS FotoGrafix

Why do runners get mad when they are referred to as “joggers”?

Honestly, I have far more important things to worry about than wondering if people consider me a runner or a jogger. Sometimes, I run and other times, I jog. Every pace has a purpose in my training schedule. It’s time that people stopped being “butthurt” over terminology and started focusing on what’s important. Let’s forget about the pace we run. Instead, let’s focus on creating an inclusive community that inspires people to lead a healthier lifestyle. By all means, strive to improve your pace. Aim higher. Try new and challenging workouts. Do hills. Do speedwork. Follow running programs.

However, next time you see someone running slower than you, I urge you to encourage them. Don’t get mad if someone calls you a jogger. Be grateful that your body lets you do the thing you love. Strive towards being an ambassador for this amazing sport.

Running is awesome for many reasons. It’s not expensive. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment. You will make great friends. You will enjoy a lot of free food at races.

The open roads are always waiting for you.

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