Category Archives: mp3

Headphones Are Safe Again

Brandes radio headphones, circa 1920
Image via Wikipedia

In case you missed it, the USATF is now permitting runners to wear headphones again.  Yes the USATF recently changed the rules again for its sanctioned and insured events (official release).

The sudden change of course throws a curveball to the many races that disqualified runners for wearing headphones.  I’ve heard at least one story of a streaker whose streak was officially broken because they were DQ’ed after completing a race wearing headphones.  Will they continue enforcing the ban as is their right? Should they reinstated runners who were DQ’ed after reviewing marathon pictures? I doubt they will reinstate runners but should they continue enforcing their previous bans?

The USATF has decided to leave the decision about headphones up to the individual race directors, except in the case of USATF Championship races, where those competing for awards can’t wear portable audio devices.

I personally am not a fan of wearing headphones while racing and have had an occasional problem when trying to pass someone who was wearing them.  It is one thing to train with headphones, but to me racing is a more pure component of running and it is easier to enjoy the event and surroundings without them.

This quote from The Final Sprint sums it up well:

“The difficulty in enforcement was part of the reasoning,” said USATF Rules Committee chairman John Blackburn through a news release. “However, several good-sized races have demonstrated that they were able to enforce the rule. There were strong opinions on all sides of this discussion, both understanding the issues related to athlete safety, race organization, difficulty of enforcement. This resolution appeared to be the best position for USATF overall.”

Many race organizers thought the genesis of the ban was due to safety concerns; runners may be listening to music which is so loud that they cannot respond to instructions should an emergency arise. Indeed, the issue had been couched that way by many who supported the ban, who also argued that plugged-in runners were discourteous to their fellow athletes, running in their own world and blocking race courses.

While the rule modification will certainly provide race organizers with much-needed breathing room, it will do little to quell the debate amongst runners themselves. Many serious recreational runners don’t want to line up next to headphone wearers, afraid that their competitive efforts may be impeded. The new language of the rule may prompt some event organizers to offer headphone-free starting corrals to mollify those concerns.

What is your opinion on wearing headphones during a race?

HT Run to Win

HT The Final Sprint

[tags] USATF, headphones [/tags]

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Phedippidations: The Blog

I have mentioned several times that I listen to Phedippidations the podcast, but did you know it also has a blog?

I won’t mention much about the podcast, but you can see my past thoughts about it here and its also on my mp3 player list posted here. RCI was also a featured blog of the week in September (listen to the mp3 excerpt).

So what does Steve Runner publish on his blog? Well you might be a little disappointed, unless you are an avid listener of the show. It is quite simply his “Show Notes.”

The posts include a summary of the week’s topic and then a list of the links he mentions in the show, including the Blog of the Week, links to the Podsafe Music Network’s music that he used, and other blogs or websites that he refers to. This is beneficial because unless you have an excellent memory you’ll forget most of the links while running down the road (unless you carry pen and paper!) There is also a link to listen to the show directly so if you don’t have iTunes you can still listen or save the file to your computer, which could be helpful for those of us who don’t use a real iPod. The blog also is a good way to find out what each week’s topic is and download it individually without subscribing to the show.

This isn’t a blog you stop by often to read, but it is a blog to stop by and listen.

You can listen to Steve’s promo mp3 for the podcast here.

Yesterday’s Run

Honestly, I haven’t run since Tuesday morning. I don’t really have a good excuse, except that I thought it might be good to see if I could get rid of the pain in the ball of my foot. After running it hurt to walk on it for most of the day and still hurt a little on Weds. But now it feels fine. We’ll see how it feels after racing tomorrow.

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What is on the iPod?

If you remember earlier posts, you know that I don’t actually have an iPod but a Sansa e250 MP3 playerwhich I really enjoy. I mentioned that I tend to listen to podcasts instead of music when I run with it, which is only sometimes.

According to

A “podcast” is a buzzword to describe a very simple concept: an audio or video file available on the Internet for you to listen to and/or watch. A podcast can also refer to a series of audio or video files (a podcast show, similar to a TV or radio show), and when using the word podcast most people refer to the entire series and not just one show.

Oversimplified a podcast is an audio version of a blog!

I know I am a geek but thought I’d let you know which podcasts I listen to because some are relevant to running/endurance sports!


Endurance Planet is a podcast of which covers a different endurance sport related topic each day.

Phedippidations (it took me a while to learn to pronounce it!) is an hour long weekly podcast with a variety of running information and sometimes corny jokes and songs hosted by Steve Runner. This was recently featured in Runner’s World.


Mayor Kevin Smith (Anderson, Indiana) had a weekly radio show before the election season and I listened to the podcast to see what was happening in the city.
ONEcast is a random podcast produced by the ONE campaign. The ONE campaign is trying to raise awareness about international poverty.

Pence’s Podcasts is an other randomly produced podcast featuring highlights from Rep. Pence sometime on the radio and sometimes his speeches from the floor of the US House of Representatives.

Council of Foreign Relations has two podcasts one is from random seminars and the other is random short updates about international political, social, and economic issues.


Anderson University Chapel publishes random chapel services from their bi-weekly schedule.

The Bridge Community Church (my home church) publishes some of the weekly messages.

Christian Community Development Association publishes workshops from their annual conferences.

The Crescent Project publishes a monthly message from their speaking tours or seminars.

Taylor University Chapel Messages (my alma mater) post many of their thrice weekly chapel services.

Vintage 21 Sermons is from an excellent church in North Carolina (very random I know).

Word Made Flesh publishes monthly excerpts from their “Beggars Society” a weekly gathering where they talk about God’s mercy for the poor.

I know I am a geek, my wife definitely thinks so! I would note that this gives me plenty to listen to and think about while I’m running and it really isn’t that much since many of them don’t update on a regular basis. I would recommend each of them for your listening pleasure and information.

What’s on your mp3 player?

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Running with Music in My Ears

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.

  1. Limit yourself to listening to music only while on the treadmill or during races (although some don’t allow it).
  2. If you’re outdoors, run in safe, familiar, public areas with minimal (or better yet, nonexistent) traffic.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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