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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Running with Headphones

This article makes me angry.

The summary of the article is that a 17 year old was running a nighttime race in California.  He was wearing headphones and took a wrong turn during the race, off of the course and onto an open road.  Someone yelled at him to let him know that he was going the wrong way, and he didn't hear them.  He was struck by a car and is in critical condition.


It is like people don't understand that running with headphones is dangerous.  You need to be fully aware of your surroundings, and take control of your own safety when you're running.  If you are going to run with headphones, do so sparingly and use some common sense.  Here are my rules:

  • I never run with headphones at a race shorter than a marathon.  I can run 13.1 miles with no entertainment.  If you need more entertainment, you should choose a race with entertainment on the course.  I do not and never have understood people who run with headphones for a 5K.  You can't go a half hour without music?!  Come on.  Even at a marathon, I would have to be in an extreme state to wear headphones, and actually there has only been one race that I've ever worn headphones for:  Marine Corps Marathon 2007, miles 20-25.  I now question that decision.
  • On a training run, I never run with headphones anywhere except treadmill and trail.
  • I don't worry about volume on a treadmill.  Listen away!
  • On the trail, I only wear headphones if I will be out for a long time, and I either put the headphones in only one ear, turn the volume down a LOT, or listen to a book on tape (which doesn't block out sound like music does).  I am always fully aware of being able to hear my surroundings.
  • I NEVER wear headphones when running on a road with cars.
At the a race earlier this year, there was an emergency vehicle coming through.  I shouted to a woman to move out of the way, but she didn't hear me.  She was wearing headphones.  Like I said, I don't understand the need to wear headphones constantly while running.  Let's try and put an end to this nonsense. 

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