T Nation

In Defense of Jogging


In defense of jogging…

There have been many an article about the ills of jogging and I thought I would write a little counter-point. Curious to know other’s thoughts! Granted, jogging has it’s down-sides. I do agree that if someone is fat, it is a bad idea to cut calories to 1,400 a day and get out there and start running. I also realize this is what many people do, not knowing any better. For those, I think these articles have merit.
However, some of the points in these articles have not been my experience (and I stress MY experience).

  1. Jogging makes you fat… No it doesn’t. This is silly. Can it make you fat? Sure. The leanest points in my life have been when I’ve consistently added jogging into my training plan.

  2. Jogging turns men into women (I understand the author was being a bit tongue in cheek)…. The argument is that elite powerlifters and weightlifters rarely jog, and they are manly. So don’t jog if you want to be manly. There isn’t really any reference to lower T levels from jogging, and that may be the case. But I would assume if jogging is incorporated into a training plan that includes lifting, any impacts would be off-set. Deadlifting double your body weight seems like it would remind your balls what to do.

  3. The more you jog, the more you have to jog to improve…. Isn’t this the idea of progressive overload? It’s no different from weight lifting. I don’t want to get any better at jogging really, but maintaining where I am at has had positive impacts for me (more on that later).

  4. Running wrecks you knees…. Sure, it can. Just like bench-pressing can wreck your shoulders. However, if done properly and gradually over time, the risks can be mitigated. Granted, some may be pre-dispositioned to knee problems, but I haven’t had any issues with my knees and I have been jogging pretty consistently for 5 or so years (ages 35-40).

  5. HITT is the only way to go… HITT does have a very positive affect when I incorporated it into my training. It doesn’t really seem to improve my endurance though the way jogging does. Also, I think there is as much risk jumping into HIT training as there is with jogging if not done properly.

  6. Running makes you feel like shit…. I seem to be at my best physically and emotionally when I jog. It helps with stress levels, it’s 45-60 minutes where I can be left alone with nothing but my thoughts. I often get a runners high around the 45 minute mark (especially when running fasted – I know, gasp). My labs prove my body is positively impacted (good HbA1c levels, good cholesterol levels, etc).

Other positive impacts I have noted when I jog…
My endurance is night and day better. Just like being strong has had it’s practical advantages for me, having endurance has been the same. My lifting is improved and I don’t get winded as easily, I can walk up many, many flights of stairs and not start sweating and panting like a bastard, I can beat my teenager in races (critical :grinning:).

In addition, from a defense standpoint - fight of flight – sometimes you just gotta run. Moreover, though a lover, not a fighter, if a fight breaks out and is not over quickly, endurance and cardio are your friend if it goes to the ground.

I can pretty much eat whatever I want when I jog consistently. Obviously I have a couple options here – don’t eat the fucking cookie and avoid having to jog. I like cookies.

Just some thoughts… flame away.


I wonder if the “jogging sucks” crowd is using a similar mindset as the “lunges/deadlifts/difficult exercise #417 sucks” crowd. They don’t like the exercise, so they find ways to justify not doing it.

Obviously no one needs to run long distances at a relatively slow pace, but there are certainly benefits to it.


Why I don’t jog:

1 - Jogging reminds me of being punished growing up. The only time we really jogged was when we were in trouble for football, basketball, soccer and baseball. If we were conditioning it was usually sprints

2 - I believe in minimal effective dose for everything I do, that I do not like; jogging being near the top of the list. Rather than spend 10-30 minutes on a jog, I can spend 5 doing HIIT.

3 - there isn’t an additional benefit that jogging provides over others.

So, to sum it all up: why would I spend an extra amount of time doing something that reminds me of punishment if it provides no added benefit?

As far as the articles, I’m sure the pendulum will come back around at some point. Just like the initial crossfit bashing articles became matched with the benefits of crossfit articles.




I’m a big fan of jogging, although currently unable to do it because of an injury. (Insertional Achilles tendonitis, brought on by doing very high-rep calf work.) Definitely the form of cardio that is most effective for me vis a vis weight control/fat loss.

I’ve given HIIT a fair trial on several occasions, and it doesn’t do anything except leave me exhausted.


I agree on all points.

I’m terrible at running, but I’m working on it. The number one reason I want to improve is because in my mind it’s such an incredibly basic human skill, and (in my opinion) in no way can anyone consider themselves athletic if they can’t run a few miles. I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as lifting weights, but I can’t consider myself fit in any way if I can’t run. It is probably also the exercise with the most carryover to every day life. Obviously deadlifting or farmers walks have lots of carryover to moving furniture etc, but in our day to day lives we are going to spend far more time walking/climbing stairs/running for buses than we are moving grand pianos or slaying dragons. And cardio would be useful in those situations too lol.

However, if you can maintain a baseline ability to run a few miles without regularly training then it certainly isn’t necessary.

It might just be me and my running style, but I find that when I don’t run my calves become really deconditioned in a way that isn’t really improved by HIIT. Whenever I get back into running after time off, I always spend the first few weeks breaking my calves in lol. So that’s the one area where I’ve found an additional benefit.


My points should be understood in a consecutive order of reasoning:

  1. Do I like it? no
  2. Does it take a substantial time from what I do like? yes
  3. Does it provide a benefit that I can’t reasonably achieve elsewhere? no

It’s a basic filter for whether or not to do something.

I naturally have large calves… They get hit enough just doing normal lifts. If they didn’t, I’d prefer jumping rope any day.

If your answer to #1, above, is yes, then #2 & #3 are irrelevant.


Oh I absolutely agree with you, I’m just saying what I gain from it personally. This is all just a hobby: if you don’t enjoy doing something, and certainly if it gives you no benefit, don’t do it!


But I think the REAL question here is: Do you have naturally large clavicles?




I’ve heard women don’t care as much about clavicular length as they do about clavicular girth. Or something along those lines.


imagine having small, pointy clavicles, pectoralis excavatum, low T and being a hardgainer all at the same time!

Fate worse than death.


I don’t know my pectoralis excavatum, pointy clavicles, horrendous pec insertions and narrow shoulders are pretty sucky.

PS: pectoralis excavatum sounds like a Harry Potter spell.


I agree with your points about jogging, sir. It may be because I was the captain of the cross-country team when I was in high school (read: I trained my mind from a young age for endurance), but I just can’t get into HITT.

From a mathematical standpoint, HIIT does burn more calories than steady state, but not as many as is advertised. I’ll link to a video that breaks down the theory and math a bit more…but because it’s a long ass video, I thought I’d give some cliff notes so that we can all have something to argue about. :grin:

I’m about to use FAKE numbers, for the sake of argument: Let’s say most people do moderate intensity when they jog (HR = 130 bpm). HIIT has peaks of high intensity (HR = 180 bpm) and valleys of low intensity (HR = 90 bpm). For arguments sake, let’s say that we burn 10 calories a minute with MISS, 15 a minute with HIIT (peaks) and 5 a minute with LISS (valleys). Let’s also assume you do 1to1 peak-to-valley HIIT (which most people don’t) and then let’s factor in the afterburn concept.

40 minutes of MISS = 400 calories burned plus 28 calories for 7% afterburn = 428 calories.

30 minutes of HIIT = 300 calories burned (1515 = 225, 155 = 75) + 42 calories for 14% afterburn = 342 calories.

So, by doing 10 extra minutes of MISS, you burn more calories total. Here’s the full video is you’re actually interested…I found it fascinating.

HOWEVER, that’s just theory and math and doesn’t take other things into accounts, such as muscle stimulation, glycogen useage, metabolism effects, etc. This was just purely food for thought, since I found this particular video so interesting.


I paraphrased a poem on this subject.

“Shut up, shut up, there’s nothing wrong with it.
If you think you see somebody knocking it
on the other side of the argument, pay
no attention. It will be only
the fat inbred that thumps its tail
on the power rack either side
If you do not even hear that
I’ll mention the fact that running is fun
and the benefits to your heart of going on a run.”


Having been focused strictly on PL/BB style programs over the last 17 years, with the odd smattering of conditioning work, I took part in a cardio based fitness class which totally exposed me in front of my peers. I was blowing out of every hole in my body. OK I looked muscular however i was a paper tiger. All show and no go.

As a result, I decided to start running to get my ‘fitness’ up to scratch.

Best decision I ever made. Running elevates your mood levels and you get a ‘high’ that just doesn’t happen with throwing iron around, in my humble opinion of course.

Leans you out like a motherfucker as well as toughening up the mind.

The benefits outweigh any fear of lozing dem gainz.


A few closet runner here at T-nation by the looks of it.
For those that do run, how often, how long and do you program your running?

Even though I do like running and its benefits, I still find that overdoing it leads to injury pretty quickly.



Is there anyone here that’s done both sprinting and jogging (not necessarily at the same time).

Were they very different in their effects?


Jogging = bigger aerobic base
Bigger aerobic base = bigger engine
Bigger engine = having more fun in the gym and generally feeling a shit ton better.

To be honest, I would rather do a 5k run as fast as possible than say, 10 sprints.