Its a growing trend to see runners of all types running with headphone or more recently “ear buds.” Do you run with an iPod or other music player? On one occasion I actually saw someone listening to their cellphone (with headphones), presumably using it as a mp3 player.
This trend has caused some concern with fellow runners, race directors, and even the USATF. The USATF has actually banned the use of music players during sanctioned races. Updated: Headphones are allowed for non-championship runners, if the race directors allow. (more here) Conversely, it has caused some excitement for the folks at Nike who created the Nike+ system. I’ve not actually used the Nike+ but would love to hear your reviews, it seems like a neat system.
I do have experience with a few different mp3 players. I’ve used the Dell DJ Ditty (which is no longer being sold) and the Sansa e250, which I absolutely love. It is great to use with the armband and provides hours upon hours of entertainment. My wife uses an iPod, which is great for sedentary activity or gym workouts, but tends to freeze while she runs. Checking the Apple forums, this seems to be a pretty common experience. Suggestions included running with it in your hands instead of on your bicep. That seemed to do the trick, but isn’t quite as convenient. Runner’s World provides some more insights into different players here.
I tend to listen to a wide variety of podcasts when I run. My wife thinks I’m a geek and would prefer listening to upbeat music to help carry her through the run. A nice place to get music for running or working out is called Fitpod. Fitness + iPod = Fitpod You can search for your running pace, workout type, and length and get a music selection to fit your needs then download it and go for your run!!
With this fad it is still important to be safe and courteous to other runners. If someone is listening to music they can’t hear you approaching or signalling that you are going to pass them, which has caused many near heart attacks I think, when I go by people. In that vain I’ll close with a list of 7 safety tips from Runner’s World.
- Limit yourself to listening to music only while on the treadmill or during races (although some don’t allow it).
- If you’re outdoors, run in safe, familiar, public areas with minimal (or better yet, nonexistent) traffic.
- Whenever possible, run with a partner. Running buddies who don’t listen to music may feel a bit snubbed, but there’s safety in numbers, and it’s always good to have at least one pair of unencumbered ears.
- Or run with a dog. Canines love exercise even more than we do. They’re great security and they don’t mind being tuned-out.
- Consider open-air, or supra-aural, headphones, which do not seal off your ear canal, allowing more ambient noise (like car horns and cycling pelotons) to remain audible.
- As for volume, keep it just loud enough to hear the music but low enough that you can hear the sounds around you. It’s a fine balance-but it’s worth locating.
- Finally, don’t assume that the one-ear-only method is any safer. Research shows that using headphones in just one ear can confuse your brain-perhaps more dangerous than listening with both sides of your head.