Running with Earphones: Super Friend or Evil Villain?

Most people I know have an iPod or some other small musical listening device. Most runners I know have also gone for a run while listening to their favorite jams. In fact I had a friend in college who ran with her iPod on a regular basis along the roads and down the trails of our campus.

She often ran in the morning so as to beat the heat. One time she was very startled by another runner on the trail that she had not seen until he was passing her. She told me the story and we had a good laugh, but this also raises the question “is running while listening to music your super friend or a super villain to your safety?” Let’s look at several safety tips for the solo runner and see how the ipod fits in.

General Safety Tips for Solo Runners:
•    Let someone know where you are running and for how long
•    Make sure you are properly hydrated and fueled before you begin
•    Perhaps run with mace if you are running in an unfamiliar area or one with known stray animals
•    Be aware of your surroundings, including the ground (for footing), possible cars and cyclists, animals and other people
•    If running on the road, run against the flow of traffic

If Running While it is Dark:
•    Wear clothing and shoes with reflective strips
•    Invest in a vest with reflective strips on it

How Does the iPod Fit In:
•    It doesn’t fit into your safety
•    It is very dangerous not to be able to hear an oncoming car, dog or someone behind you. So, it might be a better idea that you attend the Opry at the Ryman rather than making it blare out of your earphones and God forbid, get hit on the road.
•    Cyclyist are also very dangerous to your safety
•    If you have to listen to your ipod then do so at a level that you can hear your own footsteps.  This might not be as loud as you want to jam to your music but this guideline could save your life

What do you think? What are your experiences running with an iPod?


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  • By say what, August 31, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    what is a villain?

  • By Villan, August 31, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

    The opposite of a hero

  • By Super friend, August 31, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

    The real question is what is a super friend?

  • By AP, September 7, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    I would say running with an iPod is always bad.
    #1. Run with people and talk to them!
    #2. If you have to run by yourself, use this time to think/medidate/pray/listen.
    #3. As you mentioned already, it is dangerous.

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  • By Coach Parish, September 5, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    My recommendation is never run with one. Not just for safety reasons either. Running is a mental sport, and you need to learn to deal with your thoughts, pushing negative ones out and focusing on positive things, rather than using music to escape. But, if we stay on the topic of safety:

  • By Robert, September 25, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    I listen to my phone most of the time when running. I do run routes I am familiar with mostly. I use the phone to track my run and i listen to music or audiobook/podcast. It helps me keep going sometimes, I make special playlists to kickin certain songs when I know I will be losing pace. and it helps me wake up when I am running at 5:30 am. BUT on the weekend when I do my long runs, I try not to listen to it. This is when I have the time to go somewhere else, usually more natural setting and run for longer easier pace. I try to just take in the nature and enjoy it.

    I think the issues you raise are valid and worth thinking about. especially for the more casual runner.
    You certainly can lose yourself in the music and be distracted, but most runners know they are vulnerable around cars/bikes already.

  • By geez, January 10, 2015 @ 11:08 am

    Your Comments

  • By geez, January 10, 2015 @ 11:09 am

    Ipods are for treadmills only.

  • By Josh willis, December 14, 2016 @ 6:15 am

    Well i will oppose people who run with earphone.i think sometimes it can be very dangerous.specially for whom are doing morning nearby the road.
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  • By Arwa, December 13, 2017 @ 8:38 am

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  • By Andrew, February 13, 2018 @ 1:48 am

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  • By Felicia, November 2, 2018 @ 2:47 am

    I think running with earphone is not bad but we should lower the volume. I often walk with my earphone with low volume gmail email login