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Stop Your Headphone Problems While Running Right Now

headphone juggling and runningThe bachelorette asked a great question about the best headphones someone should use while running. Since most of my running involves listening to podcasts and audio books, I’ve learned a bit about headphones, the problems you might face and how to stop them.

I wasn’t always a headphone wearing runner. In fact, I joggled for more than 6 years (and 12 marathons) before I embraced headphones. Now, I use headphones every run. It’s not that I mind running headphoneless, but it’s much less efficient. There are so many books and shows to hear that wearing headphones is a must.
To find the best headphones to wear while running & juggling let’s review the different types first.

Types of headphones for running

You’ll find lots of brands of headphones but there are really only a few types.

– The most common type and best. These are small headphones placed right into the ear. While Apple didn’t invent these things they certainly helped make them ubiquitous. It seems everyone uses earbuds, even this juggling runner. They’re great except for when they fall out (more on that later).

Canalphones – These are earbuds that fit right into the ear canal. They’re like ear plugs but with sound. Supposedly they’re better for you because they block out extraneous sound and you won’t have to turn the volume up as much. Good for your hearing, but you’ll have all the other problems associated with earbuds.

Circumaural – These are the huge headphones that have pads that go over your ears. People in radio might wear these and occasionally you’ll see a runner with them. But they are big, bulky and look so ridiculous that no serious runner would wear them. A serious joggler might, but that’s only because the crowd would find it amusing.

Supra-aural – These are a smaller, less bulky version of the circumaural headphones. In the 80’s these were the main kind that people wore while running or working out. Today, runners that wear these things are mocked worse than a joggler on a juggler’s internet chat group. On the other hand, you’ll have less problems with these things falling out of your ears.

Of all the types of headphones to wear, earbuds or canalphones are best for most runners and jogglers. They are small, lightweight and don’t make you look dorky. But there are some common problems as you’ll see below.

Solutions to Headphone Problems When Running

There are three main problems you may experience when running with headphones.

Problem 1:  Headphones fall out of your ears. This is by far the most common problem for me. All the bouncing and movement during a run makes the little buds pop right out. This happens whether you’ve got head connecting buds or not.

Solution: First, make sure you’re wearing the Left ear bud in the left ear and the Right bud in the right ear. It took me months to discover there was a difference. Beyond that, the best solution is to wear a headband to hold them in your ears. But if you don’t like that look, wear the mp3 player on your shorts and string the headphone cord under your shirt. Preventing movement of the chord will reduce the likelihood of your headphones falling out. This really works.  Note: The earbuds that wrap around your ears fall out too.

Problem 2: Headphones stop working. Sweat pools up in your ears and shorts out the headphone.

Solution: Take the headphone out of your ear and pound it onto a dry piece of clothing. This will draw out the moisture and fix the short. Also be sure to clean the water out of your ear so it doesn’t happen again.

Problem 3: Headphone wire gets in your way. This one is particularly troubling for a joggler.  If the chord gets in the way of your juggling pattern you’ll get all tangled and either drop the bean bags or pull the buds out of your ear.  Both have happened to me.

Solution:  String the headphone wire under your shirt and wear your iPod on your shorts.  The less exposure the chord has to your arm, the less chance there’ll be a problem.  Plus it helps hold the earbuds in.

As a joggler, you embrace the idea of multitasking.  And really, what can be more multitasking than running, juggling, and reading a book?

Joggle on.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Awesome post, Perry. I never thought I would have anyone to sympathize with over a headphone cord messing up my joggling pattern.

    Wearing a tight knit hat in the winter really helps to hold the earbuds in place (and seals in the sound), but summer can be a challenge.

    I also like a extra challenge of adjusting the volume or shuffling to the next song while maintaining the joggling pattern with a high toss, or maybe even a 3-ball high flash (OK, that sounds rude, but you juggling know what I mean).

  2. As far as problem 1, I’ve seen something called BudFits that actually attaches to the earphones and holds them in place while you wear them. It’s totally bendable and light, too. I got mine from a friend but they are available on

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