Experiences like these made Rivera feel that running was not for her. “I put running on the shelf again,” he says. But after the pandemic inspired her to try weekly low-stakes routes on her own, she not only fell in love with the sport again, but decided to create a place where other runners would be really welcome with her. Slow AF Run Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Rivera and her club are part of a much-needed change that opens up a competitive running culture to people who are more interested in going out and having fun than creating PR. And it’s not just those who have been excluded from the fitness industry who are recovering from the fun of jogging: Even Equinox, probably the pinnacle of fitness, has recently begun jogging-focused workouts — yes, jogging. Once (and for some, even more) a term that causes horror in the eyes of “serious” runners, jogging is now being recovered by those who see it as an alternative – but no less – form of running.
The beginnings of modern jogging
Parts of this emerging running culture are reminiscent of the boom of running in the 1970s, when the average person ran for the first time. Or, as many at the time called it, jogging.
But shortly after the advent of jogging in the 1970s — full of pastel shorts and matching overalls — the term “jogger” began to be derogatory, thanks in part to serious runners who felt the need to distinguish themselves from the new recreational swarms.
“Somewhere along the way, the ‘jogger’ has become derogatory,” says Mark Remy, a former The world of the runner author and founder of dumbrunner.com. “He was associated with amateurs, beginners — people who did very short or very slow runs, usually both, and who did not really care how far or fast they went.”
Author Peter Flax pointed to a 2020 The world of the runner a story that defends the joggers that not only did the term come to denote slowness and frivolity, but also impotence and lack of passion and grace. “Almost every sport develops an insult to describe deplorable hypocrites,” Flax writes. “Cycling has Freds. the surf has cuckoos; skating has a poser. “And running has a joker.”
The “Jogger” also began to use an awful lot, Remy says: “Even today, the media and TV shows often refer to runners who experience news violence in their running — such as finding a corpse or being hit by a car — like joggers, regardless of their resume.
So what exactly is the difference between running and jogging?
The real difference between running and jogging is questionable. (And my boy has been discussed. See: The dozens of threads in the infamous caustic running forum Letsrun.com, which have found such unrealistic and exclusive definitions of “jogger” as anyone who is not paid to run, or anyone with a time of 5K over 15 minutes.)
David Siik, running coach and founder of Equinox Precision Run program, sees total intensity as the distinction: Jogging should allow you to have a conversation without taking your breath away, he says, and it should be sustainable for a long time. time period.
But this does not take into account the fact that, for some, running even at a very slow pace can be challenging and unsustainable for more than a few minutes. Whether this slow but panting pace is running or running speaks volumes about how isolated (and arbitrary) these categories can be.
For Andrea Ettinghausen, who grew up in the competitive world of running as the daughter of the famous racer Ed Ettinghausen, jogging is about mentality, not rhythm. “A hobby jogger is someone who runs for fun, for health and fitness,” says Ettinghausen, who recently founded the Hobby Joggers Running Club in Temecula, California. “They do not have an overly competitive mentality or strict routine.”
Although Ettinghausen again claims to be a “jogger hobby”, a term that usually means insult, it sees the “runner” as a broad category in which the “jogger” lives. “If you go out and do a 5K or a marathon, I do not care if you walk the whole thing – in my mind, you’re still a runner,” he says. “I think when you say you’re a runner, a lot of people think you’re out there for six or seven minutes, and that’s not the case.”
“If you go out and do a 5K or a marathon, I do not care if you walk the whole way – in my mind, you’re still a runner.” – Andrea Ettinghausen
Making everyone welcome
Inspired by her dad, who is known for finishing races and then returning to finish with the last runner again, Ettinghausen’s club is built around ensuring that no one feels inferior because they run at a slower pace. Ettinghausen sets up mileage markers along a path that leads and waits at the start / finish to greet participants who ran as far and as fast as they wanted. Members then build a community during a post-execution conversation on topics such as mental health.
Rivera is also careful not to fall behind in her group’s two-mile routes: she talks to new members before the run and introduces them to others who may be fit to run with them and always brings them back. that no one ends last. Rivera finds the distinction between “runner” and “jogger” useless. “I feel it does not matter,” he says. “Especially in our team, it is already a condition that everyone is slow. And I also want people to feel empowered – if you run at 13 minutes a mile, or 14 minutes or even 15 minutes, you keep running. “
But Siik believes that jogging can be just as empowering as running, and he has structured Equinox guided jogging, which lives in the Equinox + app, with this idea in mind. “We never treat someone who jogs like they do less intense training,” he says. “We do not need to make them feel that they are doing less, because they are not doing less. “They just chose to jog, so let’s make them feel as strong as someone taking a treadmill.”
Although he likes the idea that jogging can be meditative, an opportunity to sit with your thoughts instead of focusing on the mechanics of your workout, Siik has strategically planned for Equinox jogging to have “a little structure,” he says, walking the line between accessing those who are intimidated by the idea of running and providing tools to the jokers to grow and improve. For some, these jogging is a stepping stone to running. for others, jogging alone is enough – and that’s okay.
For Siik, the rise of the jogging culture goes hand in hand with a change in perceptions of what a “running body” is. “There was a lot that goes beyond body-shaming in running,” he says. “The idea that every body can be a running body — that changed everything.”
Today’s view on the word “jogger”
The pandemic has reawakened part of the vitriol behind the term “jogger” as young runners look for desperate fresh air trails and “Selfish jokers” —not runners — without masks were wrongly accused of spreading COVID to a virus plaque in New York.
But Siik says he has generally noticed that the contempt behind the word has softened in recent years, as social media has helped competitive runners realize that hobbyists make the world of running make the world of running by paying race fees. and buying a lot of equipment. Athleisure brands, too, that make stylish clothes fit for casual miles but not necessarily for performance (think Outdoor Voices or Girlfriend Collective) “feed the jogging beast — making it sexier,” says Siik.
Sexy or not, jogging — or at least slow running — is less of a trend and a reality of every runner’s journey at some point, whether they like it or not. Rivera says its Slow AF Run Club is a place where older runners and runners recovering from long-term illness or injury can feel at home and rediscover their relationship with the sport. Even select runners rely on easy runs: marathoner Molly Seidel credits her recent success — including an Olympic bronze medal and an American record in the New York Marathon — to her (relatively) slow workouts.
Ettinghausen wishes someone had told her a long time ago that it is okay to run at your own pace. be on the back of the package. She has received only positive reviews about her Hobby Joggers club so far, although she realizes that there are runners who would still shudder at the name of the team. “I’m fine with that,” he says. “We are not out there running our donkeys. “A mile is a mile – you’re out there for yourself.”
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