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9 Tips For Safer Headphone Running and Joggling

I was saddened to read this story about teen jogger Alison Draves who was accidentally hit and killed by a car. Exercise is supposed to prolong your life not shorten it. But it’s a reminder that running and joggling is not without it’s dangers.  Especially if you are doingrunning juggling car safety it outside while wearing headphones.

Many serious runners would tell you to skip wearing headphones. According to them, the act of running should have all your focus.  And most races have a rule banning them though it’s not usually enforced.  Some people get to be real snobs about the whole issue. It’s a bit annoying.

When I first started running, I didn’t use headphones. In fact, I’ve done 10+ marathons (training and all) without headphones. But I tried them and liked them.  Now, except for days of sprint workouts, I’m exclusively a headphone wearer. It just lets me get more done with the limited time available.

Headphone urban joggling is not without dangers however. So here are a few tips that can make your outdoor workouts safer.

Tips for safer headphone workouts.

1. Wear only 1 headphone. It’s important to hear what’s going on around you. By running with one ear free, you have a much better chance of hearing approaching dangers.

2. Keep the volume low. If you can’t hear passing cars than it’s too loud. Lower the volume and just get used to listening at reduced levels. Not only will this make your workout safer, it’ll protect you from hearing loss too.

3. Listen to “talk”. Music is constant sound which makes it harder to hear noises around you. Talk involves lots of pauses and sound gaps. Talk also gives you the opportunity to read and learn while you exercise. It’s a great combination.

4. Wear chord under your shirt. This is both a safety and practical tip. Wearing the chord under your shirt prevents it from flailing in the wind and catching on things like street signs and fence posts. It also keeps the headphones from falling out of your ears.

5. Try running without headphones occasionally. Running without headphones is safer than running with. Just try a long 5 – 10 mile run without them. You may even find running is easier without the distraction. Of course, you could find the opposite to be true but it’s always good to try every so often.

Bonus joggling safety tips

6. Run into traffic. If you’re running where there are cars run towards traffic.That way you can see the cars coming at you. The girl in this story was running with the cars. This may be ok for bikes but not for runners or jogglers.

7. Be more visible. Wear reflective clothing, bright colors, and try to avoid running when it’s dark. If you can’t hear drivers, at least make it easy for them to see you.

8. Be aware. Urban or suburban joggling can be dangerous. Be aware of your surroundings. How do you do this? Just decide you will and do it.

9. Stop or drop. Joggling is great fun but if you’re in a dangerous situation just stop. Hold the bean bags in your hand and concentrate on running out of trouble. There are no medals for avoiding sever injury or death while joggling.

There are only a couple of hundred jogglers in the world and we don’t want to accidentally lose one. Follow these tips and stay safe.

Joggle on.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. I wasn’t trying to be snobbish with that article; I was responding to something that Dave McGillivray wrote (he’s the race director for Beach to Beacon and the Boston Marathon) about why he bans headphones in his races.

    I’m sorry to hear about the girl dying, you never want to hear about that. It only reinforces my own paranoia about getting hit by a car again, though (not that the first time had anything to do with headphones.)

    I think that your tips are good ones for folks that do want to wear headphones when they run.

  2. So sorry, Blaine. I didn’t mean to imply you were being snobbish. I just found that article and thought it was a pretty good summary of some of the issues related to headphone wearers.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  3. So sad to hear about that young girl.

    Of course, anyone who knows Blaine knows he’s a snob, despite the easy going, sharing, care free ‘tude he displays in public 😉

    I just started wearing headphones recently. I always keep them turned down, and I always look before I cross a street, headphones or not!!

    Did you see the new hats with built in speakers? No headphones required for those 🙂

  4. So you can distract not only yourself but also those around you? Or just annoy them, at least? Heheh.

    I have a picture in my head of Wes getting out of the water, hopping on his bike, and putting the hat on under his helmet belting out “Born to be Wild” from his speaker hat while explaining to race officials that it isn’t banned because he’s not wearing ear plugs…don’t mind my inane giggling at the thought.

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