“There are no medals for avoiding severe injury or death while [jogging]..” —Blogger Perry Romanowski
Last month, almost 30,000 people went to Google searching “running headphones.” How many searched “running safety”? Only about 5,000. This tells me runners are still out there looking for the latest and greatest running headphones but may remain ignorant about how wearing these on a run greatly reduces their safety. Let's hope those searching for “running headphones” are treadmill runners!...
Headset and earphone bans
The USATF banned running with headphones at any USATF-sanctioned event back in 2008. CompleteRunning.com suggests running with headphones is as bad as running with scissors! Perhaps you are asking, “What if I have my running headphones on a very low volume and only have one earbud in?” I would ask you this, “Is there a 1% chance of your impaired hearing on that one side getting you hurt or killed?” Yes, there is.
You can die
In September 2007, 15-year-old Alison Draves was running with her MP3 player. She was hit by a car and died a few hours later. The driver said Alison stepped out in front of his car. No charges were filed against the driver. In September of 2009, 29-year-old Michael Gres was running with his iPod when he decided to cross the street. He was hit by an SUV and died. In 2008, a University of N. Carolina student with running headphones was killed when she ran in front of a bus.
One running blogger says he likes that listening to music distracts him from the pain he's putting his body through. I think this is a recipe for more injuries and strains. Running headphones can easily put you in a sort of trance—like having blinders on. Plus, since when has not listening to your body been a good thing?
Call me a purist, but running to me has the potential to be infinitely more spiritual than a Sunday sermon. If you're addicted to running headphones, why not be in a gym on a treadmill where you can watch TV too and run safely? Also, if you're at a race that still allows running headphones and you're rocking the iPod, forget about making new friends and having people shout encouragement at you.
If you simply can't go a mile without your running headphones, at least follow these safety tips:
Wear a reflective vest and shoes,
Take the running headphones off for a minute periodically to re-adjust to the outside noises and get a hold on your surroundings,
Never run in the dark (it's OK to run at night under street lights),
Look both ways and make eye contact with drivers before entering the street,
Run against--not with--the flow of traffic,
Run in an area you know well with a wide shoulder, low speed limit, and a sidewalk,
Listen to a book on tape or talk radio instead of music to better allow you to avoid “the iPod trance” and