The answer to the question 'are earbuds good for running' varies with every runner because some prefer to run with them and others without. In addition, runners endure all sorts of pain and stress on their bodies but take it all with pride because of the physical and health benefits they get from exercising.
Runners use earbuds to listen to music, podcast, or audiobooks to distract themselves from the mid-run pain and aches. There is also a validated reason through research that shows using earbuds has psychological benefits and can increase running performance.
According to studies, runners show a difference in performance when they select their music compared to when the music is selected for an athlete to synchronize movement. Therefore, self-selected music has potentially more exercise benefits.
Athletes can listen to music to set the pace and boost their motivation at the mid-run stage when their body starts to feel tired. However, this can also be a distraction from running and lead to potential risks when running outdoors.
For example, the earbuds may stop working and divert your attention towards fixing them, making you lose your pace and concentration.
Why Mindfulness Is Important When Running?
According to documented research, mindfulness during active exercise has health benefits. But audio playing devices may inhibit mindfulness in most runners. When running outdoors, you need a strong connection and awareness of your body and environment.
Using earbuds may create this disconnection and make you miss important signals and cues like knowing when to drink water. Statistics collected between 2004-2011 show that injuries emanating from pedestrians using headphones and earbuds tripled, especially for people living in urban areas.
Most runners know that running with earbuds is risky, but they still do it. Unfortunately, not many runners are forthcoming when headphone-related injuries and accidents happen as they don't want to carry the blame.
It makes it challenging to get accurate data for headphone-related accidents.
Are There Race Rules for Using Earbuds?
For many years, earbuds and headphones were banned in official races, but recently the rules have been amended, and some races allow athletes to use them. The USA Track and Field—USATF is a governing body that regulates marathon and long-distance running.
In 2008, it banned using headphones and earbuds at all USATF-sanctioned racing events. However, athletes that aren't competing for awards, prize money, medals, or championships can use these audio-playing devices.
Are There Safety Options I Should know?
Yes! The best earbuds are the ones that don't isolate your awareness from your immediate environment. While having a good earbud that fits well is important to prevent adjustment distractions, the ones that allow some external noise to filter through are also helpful.
The new technology involves using a bone conduction earpiece to prevent covering your ears. It's a form of earbud that you place on the cheekbones and transmit the music through skull bones. These are the best for outdoor runners as it makes them enjoy their favorite audio while keeping them mindful and aware.
Earbuds allow athletes to enjoy the endorphin high they seek as they listen to their favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks. But the safest way to use them is when running indoors, where there are no risks of running into traffic or potentially dangerous terrains.
Are earbuds good for running? Look at it from this perspective: Running has immense benefits, but earbuds can arguably increase your chances of getting injured when running outdoors. The risk-to-benefit ratio becomes higher.
But you can always consider using one earbud and leaving an ear free so that you become aware of your surroundings when running.