Do you run with headphones?
This was one of the most debated topics that we discussed in the RRCA training. I’ll be the first to admit that there used to be a time when I refused to go running without headphones. About a year ago I tried to stop using them as often for safety reasons and to try to get more out of my running. For awhile I only used them to get through long runs and occasionally during races.
Since the training I haven’t used headphones at all. Before that I was only using them on the weekends when I would be out running later in the morning, and I kept the music really low.
The RRCA as an organization does not promote the use of headphones while running outdoors. This was covered in the training but is also stated in their general safety guidelines here:
- DON’T WEAR HEADPHONES. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes may miss during evening or early morning runs.
Some of the participants in our course had rebuttals for why it can be okay to wear headphones. Here are some of the points shared by our instructor:
- Listening to headphones will prevent you from being able to hear cars, other people, or animals approaching. The biggest reason to ditch the headphones is to keep yourself safe.
It’s better running etiquette to be able to hear things around you such as other runners approaching. You may be safer on a track but if there are other people sharing the track with you, you won’t be able to hear them if you are listening to music.
You can be more in tune with your body and your mind if you leave the headphones at home. Create your own music and stories in your head!
Races generally discourage the use of headphones.
In some cases maybe it’s not as problematic to wear headphones- maybe if you are running on a track and you are with someone else and there are no other runners to be aware of. But in general it’s better to run without them.
One participant in our course felt strongly that there are cases where its ok to wear them. For example, if someone is a new runner and they will either run with headphones or not run at all, is it worth giving up running completely? I would say there are probably ways for the person to learn to run without headphones- maybe by running with a friend or sticking to the treadmill until they are ready to give them up.
I’m not sure what I will do when I get back to doing really long runs for my next marathon. Now that I am used to running without music I don’t even miss it most days, but I think its just the fear of knowing I will be out running for 3 hours with nothing but my own thoughts that makes me question it.
If you are really going to insist on running with headphones, try to only use one and keep the volume really low! And for more ideas about how to stay entertained without headphones check out Michele’s post!
Do you run with headphones?
How do you feel about this topic? Are you trying to ditch the headphones?