The Pros and Cons Of Running With Headphones

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Run, Opinion, Sports, Training

Running with headphones can provide a number of benefits, such as helping to keep you motivated and entertained during your workout. However, there are also some potential downsides to consider.

This is a circular debate that has raged among trail- and road runners alike for ages. The way we see it, there is no one ‘right’ answer, you’re either a headphones runner or you aren’t. If you’re on the fence, we’ve quizzed some experts (on both sides of the argument) and curated a list of pros and cons. 

PRO: Music

One of the main benefits of running with headphones is that you can listen to music or other audio such as audiobooks or podcasts, which can help to keep you motivated and entertained during your workout. This can be especially helpful if you are running alone, as it can help to make the time pass more quickly and the right playlist can make your workout feel less tedious (and get you through that last interval).

Running With Headphones
(c) David Brown / Pexels

PRO: Training apps

Using headphones can improve your training as various apps use voice commands to start or end an interval, for example. If you’re training for an event such as Wings For Life World Run, this is particularly applicable. 

Running With Headphones
(c) Oleksandr Pidvalnyi / Pexels

PRO: Tune out external noise 

Another benefit of running with headphones is that they can help to block out external noise, such as traffic or people talking. If you’re on a treadmill in a busy gym, for example, this can help to make your workout feel more peaceful and relaxing. In addition, it can also help to improve your focus and concentration. (Read this to learn how running can improve your mental health).

CON: Tune out external noise

However, there are also some potential downsides to consider when running with headphones. Firstly, it can be dangerous for the very reason that it is harder to hear what is going on around you – which means you might not hear traffic or other hazards. If you’re trail running, you might not get the full experience of the environment and all the beautiful nature sounds that go with running in the mountains, forest of veld

Running With Headphones
When running in nature or with mates you might want to go without. Craig Kolesky / Red Bull Content Pool

CON: You become anti-social

Another downside is that running with headphones can be isolating, as it can make it harder to interact with other people or be aware of your surroundings. This can be especially true if you are running in a group or in a social setting such as a parkrun.

CON: Comfort

In addition, running with headphones can also be uncomfortable, as the earbuds may cause irritation or discomfort over long periods. This of course comes down to the type of headphones you’re using and there are some highly ergonomic (designed for training) models out there. Look out for a full review soon.

Overall, running with headphones can be a great way to stay motivated and entertained during your workout. However, it is important to be aware of the potential downsides and to use them responsibly. Be sure to keep the volume at a moderate level, and if possible avoid running in busy areas or with a group.

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