I understand the need for a little extra motivation during a workout. Music delivers a boost of energy and adrenaline that makes the run seem easier. It’s been proven. So, go ahead and wear your headphones on the track, treadmill, and trails. But, please don’t wear them on the roads. Running with headphones could kill you.
Last month, a 25-year-old man was killed by a snowplow in Connecticut. Last year, a 27-year-old California woman was killed by a train. And four years ago, on a South Carolina beach, a man was killed by a single-engine plane. All of them were running and wearing headphones.
A 2011 study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine shows that the number of headphone-related pedestrian accidents has tripled in recent years. And 70% of the people in these accidents were killed. I like my Blast Off Running Mix, but not enough to die for.
Another consideration beyond traffic safety, is personal safety. If you are running alone, wearing headphones can compromise your hearing and make you more vulnerable to attack. Runners need every advantage to stay safe. We wouldn’t wear blinders on our eyes, and we shouldn’t wear earbuds in our ears.
Some of you will continue to wear your headphones and run in traffic. I don’t recommend it, but if you must run with music, at least consider some “open-air” headphones like those made by JVC. Their waterproof Extreme Fitness headphones allow for ambient noises, like horns and sirens. Just remember to keep the volume down low enough to be aware of your surroundings.
And if you decide to take the headphones off, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much more in tune you become with your body while running. You’ll learn to listen to the sounds of running for feedback. The sound of your feet hitting the ground, the cadence of your steps, your breathing, and other auditory feedback are important data points for you as a runner. You’ll even learn what a given pace-per-mile sounds like.
Run safe and run again tomorrow.
JVC provided product for review.