Wearing headphones while racing: Motivating Music or Tuning into Danger?
Although I’m fairly new to racing, (I’ve run in three 5k’s, and one 10k) I’ve been printing off as many entry forms for upcoming races that I can get my hot little hands on. One of the first ones I printed off had some alarming and frightening words printed on it: Headphones Not Allowed!!
Yikes! As a runner who takes her iPod with her at all times, these are some scary rules. In fact, I’ve been known to say the only time I’ll run without music is if someone’s chasing me! Ok, so I have run without music – but very rarely and usually it’s when I have a running buddy. In fact, all three of my 5k’s were run without headphones. The 10k, however, I was jamming out, thankfully, the whole time. In my opinion, 5k’s are short enough not to miss the music too much whereas anything more, more quietness=more of a mental game. For me, the music distracts me from second guessing myself, and gets my in the zone.
However, the facts are more and more race organizations are banning headphones for those participating. Active.com posted an article on the topic, which talks about an instance where a half marathon wouldn’t start until everyone was sans-headphones. A half marathon! That’s running without music for about two hours (give and take.) Some races even go so far as to disqualify those who are wearing headphones.
While I definitely prefer jamming out to tunes while running, I can see the negatives in running a race with headphones:
- It could be rude to others. Obviously when you’re running in a race, you won’t be the only one running. Being able to hear what’s going on around you will help you to be more courteous to your fellow runners by helping not bumping into them, and by being more alert to those passing you.
Ok, I guess I can only see one negative. Unless you count the one that if “you keep listening to that dang music so loud, you’re gonna lose your hearing, girl!” (totally said in a grandma-esque voice)
However, according to the article mentioned above, race directors and USATF have a hard time backing up their reasoning behind a complete ban of the headphones.
Additionally, there’s an awesome little feature on Mp3 players which helps those using them to be able to listen to their tunes and able to hear surrounding noises. The VOLUME button
What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you feel iPods and mp3 players should be banned from races? Or do you think they are completely safe (and necessary!) when running in a race?