September 1, 2012

Are headphones unsafe during a race?

Workout wrap-up
Or as I originally wrote, and is probably more appropriate, rap-up -- if you put it to a beat.

Monday: spin class

Tuesday: 8 miles, 1:05
Middle 3 miles at 7:53 tempo

Wednesday: spin class, BodyPump class

Thursday: 6 miles, 0:46
Speed work day and one of the first times I didn't pee my pants doing speed work. Maybe it was just an easy week.

Friday: 6 miles, 0:53
Easy miles day.

Saturday: 13 miles, 1:48
Humid out the wazoo.

Last night, I went to Target to stock up on some running grub, specifically my new favorite -- Shot Bloks. Those things are so delicious and easy. Plus I grabbed my favorite pre-race meal, Clif Builder bars, and I got a Clif gel to try out. No, this isn't a Clif commercial, and they aren't sponsoring any of it (sadly). I just seem to love the guts out of everything they make.


After I got back from clearing out the Clif section, I laid out the long run essentials for the next morning. 


Chia seeds (heaping tablespoon in a cup of water) and Builder bar before my run and Shot Bloks during.

Today we had to pick up the pace on our run. The plan called for 8:27, and our splits looked a little something like this.


We had a little slowdown in the middle as we met up with some friends (and hills) on the trail, so we tried to pick it up at the end. The last mile felt like the perfect mix of can't breathe and legs on fire. 

P.S. It was freakin' humid. Like my-shirt-used-to-be-pale-pale-green humid. 


And we even beat our 8:27 goal. 8:21 average. Bam, done.


Also, this week, I got that Oiselle shipment that had me standing on the roadside in my grubby pajamas waiting for the USPS man. My number one favorite thing in the shipment (other than the Happy Hoodie, which I can't wear yet because it's too hot) is this mesh tank. It's the lightest + softest tank I've worn in a long time.

If you're looking for size advice, I went by the measurement chart for mine, and it is fitted but not too tight.


Plus it has this cool mesh panel in the back. 


Last newsflash, I bit the no-headphones bullet and signed up for the Rocket City Marathon


This race is particularly stickler about its no-headphones policy. Someone told me that they would let you run the race with them and point to you as you finished and tell you that you were disqualified. I'm not sure if that's true, but the below logo was created by them. Stick figure with a red circle and slash -- it's obvious that they mean business. 



I personally don't get what the big deal is with headphones during a race. When you are out running on streets without all the police escorts and streets blocked off, then, yes, headphones aren't safe. But really, how many people have been injured because of headphone usage in a race? I'd like some hard data to show me how unsafe it is. One theory I read is that they use safety as a decoy to play elitist runner. Because if you're a real runner, you wouldn't even need headphones. If you don't love running so much you want to do it all day with no single distraction whatsoever (and with rocks in your shoes), you don't deserve to run Rocket City. That's just one opinion I read. My opinion is that I pay money to run a race so I don't have to worry about things like cars running me over and bringing my own water. Oh, and for the flashy medal that I wear for weeks afterwards. 

What do you think about wearing headphones during a race? Safe or unsafe? Like or don't like? 

Would you run a race that will disqualify you for using headphones?

Tell me one thing about your run today. My one thing: HUMID.

48 comments:

  1. Not a fan of the no headphones policy either. I don't wear them on trails but on roads I really like them. I've run one marathon that was a no-headphones race but was a bit angry when I didn't bring mine then saw lots of people with them. It really wasn't that bad but I would've liked to have had it. The 50 miler upcoming is a very strict no headphones race too...which sucks

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  2. I don't wear headphones ever when I run so I don't have to worry about what's allowed. I will say that there is the the possibility out there that people who run with headphones in have a tendency to be a danger to other runners, simply because they can't always hear a person coming up behind them. Once I was punched by a person wearing headphones because they couldn't hear me say "on your left" and I surprised them so much that they threw a fist out and nailed me. And another time I won a race because the girl who was in front of me couldn't hear the volunteers and I screaming at her to turn around (not a danger, obviously, but a bummer for her).

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    1. Ouch! Getting punched is no fun at all. Now that is a good reason to not advocate headphones in a race.

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  3. I'm just starting to run more without headphones. Starting to enjoy it more without so that is good. Maybe someday I won't run with headphones ever. Today's run was boring hotel treadmill. Should have had my headphones for that one....just stared at the pool :/

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    1. I can never run on a treadmill without a distraction. I've found that my favorite treadmill activity is watching Netflix reruns of 30 rock. Perfect treadmill show.

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  4. I'm trying to run less with music, to rely on it less to rev me up. I ran my one and only marathon without music so I know it can be done, but I'd be sad to run a half without it, these days!

    My run today was HILLS....five times up the easy side, three times up the steep side. I LOVE hills.

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    1. You would love my neighborhood. The hills and all. And I need your secret on how to love hills.

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  5. I think you are very close to the truth about the real sentiments behind the no-fun policy. Must remember its the "Rocket City" and the running establishment is dominated by soulless engineers from places like Auburn, Ga Tech and Claremont-Mudd. They've never had any fun and you shouldn't either. There is a right way and a wrong way to put on a race and there's a bright line between them. But that same serious attitude means that the overall product is outstanding. Or at least I hope so 'cause I will be there, too.

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    1. They need some BYU grads in there funning the place up, right?! That's great you're running too! Sounds like we'll have a lot of company from Birmingham. Have you run it before? Do you plan to go up the night before or morning of?

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    2. Much prefer to go up the day before. Otherwise, I will be really fearful of not finding parking, being late, and all that. But if I thought you were trustworthy to get us there early on raceday, I might spring for gasoline in exchange for the ride.

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  6. My one thing: I had an awesome run and totally needed it for a confidence boost!!
    I am glad you had a good run too! Isn't beating your goal pace the best!

    I am curious…chia seeds in water before your run? I eat them but only ever in oatmeal or yogurt.

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    1. Yay for a great run!

      For the chia seeds, you just dump them in the water and stir and let them soak for about 10 minutes. Not sure why that helps (but I do it because it's on the package instructions), but maybe to make them easier to digest. They swell in the water and kind of have a boba/caviar texture going on.

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  7. Nice job on the run and love that tank! I have run one half where headphones were not allowed but everyone but me the rule follower seemed to break it. At first it really annoyed me but I realized I talked to a lot more people and enjoyed the course more (this was Mount Lemmon half marathon) but really I think it should be left up for the individual to decide. A course blocked of from traffic seems like the safest place to wear headphones to me. And to conclude have I told you lately you are my running hero. My goal is to be able to run with Yo Momma if I ever get the chance which means pickin up the pace on my end. Thanks for inspiring me:)

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    1. We totally have to run together!

      I have enjoyed the trail runs I've done without headphones because the people were so darn friendly, but road races feel a little bit more impersonal. I'm not sure why. ??? But around here a lot of the same people who do the trail races do the road races, so maybe this one will have that friendly feel.

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  8. Some of our local races "discourage" headphone use. They're usually 5ks, though, so it's not a big deal.
    I'd like to think that I could run that long with no music but the rebel in me gets annoyed that someone forbids it. I'd be curious to see their "safety issue" data, as well.
    Your 13-miler, with running buddy, sounds amazing. You're lucky to have someone with a similar pace and schedule!

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    1. Maybe that's why I don't like it too.

      And I love my running partner! I got super lucky that she wanted to run the same race AND same pace as me. She's awesome!

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  9. This is my first time to your blog... I'm still undecided on the headphones issue but I HAVE decided that you are adorable!

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  10. I never used to run with music (other than on the treadmill) and have run two marathons sans music so I know I can do it....but lately, running with tunes has made my races much more enjoyable (mostly because I can't hear myself grunting and gasping for air.) Having said that, my next race doesn't allow headphones so I'll have to find other ways to distract myself from focusing on my heavy breathing!

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    1. I love having it as a backup, so when the inevitable "why the h did I sign up for this" sets in, I have a distraction.

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  11. I don't think it is unsafe to run with headphones in a race. That's why the roads are closed to cars! Ridiculous, we paid, we should be able to wear whatever gear necessary. I ran a RNR race and they said no headphones, but I saw lots of people wearing them. I think that was more about the music on the course than anything else. Do they have a half option? I'm looking for a December half:)

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    1. No, this one's just a full. Our best Alabama half marathon (in my opinion) is the Mercedes in Birmingham in February.

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  12. My run yesterday was good. My legs felt insanely heavy after my exercise class, but surprisingly, the run later felt easy. Love it when that happens!

    I really don't care/mind when people wear headphones during a race. Like you said, most marathons block off streets and have clear signage, so what's the danger? And I know that for me, personally, listening to music when I get tired is a much-needed boost.

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    1. My legs get soooo sore from classes, and then I barely feel it when running. Is that a good sign that our running muscles are in good shape? Anything that requires a sideways/angled movement, count me out.:)

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  13. I did a 22 mile mountain race in Creede, CO as a part of training (?) for Denver Rock and Roll on the 22nd. I'll give you two words: STEEP and LONELY. The course went straight up to 12, 500 feet. Yes, definitely power hiked some of it. And, then, straight back down. I stepped in the creek, twice up to my calves. Soggy Brooks trail shoes held up pretty well. I only saw two guys after mile 6. One guy passed me and I passed another. I had not trained for anything like the course...I've been running pavement mostly flat-ish miles for the marathon training. However, I managed to pull it out in 5 hours (my goal) and was the second female finisher. Pretty sure the marathon is going to seem easy after that....and, I would not have made it without my thumping tunes through the earphones.

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    1. Wow! That sounds amazing. In a tortuous kind of way, but still amazing. I can't believe you pulled out that climb in 5 hours.

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  14. My one thing about my run today: Freaking hard. Legs felt heavy and achy by 5 miles in. Got out there about an hour later (7 a.m) than my usual time, and I felt it. By the 7 mile turn around, that sun was beating me down. Somehow I finished all 13 ahead of long run pace.

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    1. Our run group is going to push back 30 minutes to 6 a.m. Even 30 minutes seems like it will make a difference. The sun is brutal! Great job finishing AND ahead of your pace.

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  15. I've only run with headphones once or twice and didn't like it. I found it too distracting for some reason. I personally would discourage headphones for a race since there should be enough entertainment on course and I like to say a few words to others during the race. That said,I'm a libertarian on that issue. There should be No DQs for wearing them.

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    1. I wonder if this one has entertainment. The rock n roll marathons definitely have lots of entertainment, but even with those, there are lonely points along the course.

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  16. I run with headphone only one(unless I am on the track or treadmill at the Y)for longer runs of 6 miles or more. Music is especially distracting during those awful intervals ~ counting songs rather than minutes. I run with only one so I can hear traffic and people around me. Triathlons do not allow headphones, so I can go without, but I prefer the distraction and pep I get from music. Really, I can get lost in my own head too without music and not hear others around me. It really is all about personal responsibility/respect to me and some people are not really "good" at that with or without headphones.

    My run today ~ frustrating. I run by HR and I did not have an accurate HR until mile 10 of my 16 miler :(

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    1. Yes! 4 songs feels more doable than 15 minutes.

      Frustrating with the HR. Do you use a Garmin? Mine has been giving me a lot of trouble lately. If it wasn't so expensive, I would throw it against the wall.

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    2. Same Garmin. Same dilemma.

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  17. I love those Clif bats! Nice run lady! :) and loving that tank. I'm trying to switch on and off w wearing headphones...I don't think it's a big deal in a race but I can c both sides. I would still wear them even if I was DQed...I'd know in my heart where my place was lol.

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    1. If I wasn't always chasing that Boston qualifying, I wouldn't worry about it either. But with my luck, the one time I get DQ'd I would run a 3:34.

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  18. no headphones?! That one might be harder mentally than physically. Although I didn't use mine until mile 21 last time. Wohoooo you're so hardcore :)

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    1. If you end up running with me (hint, hint), it would be more doable!

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  19. Great pace on your long run! I ran on the beach today. I'm on vacation in California and loving it, although the humidity is fierce compared to the dry heat in Albuquerque where I live.

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    1. I have to convince myself that humid running is great for training. Right?

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  20. I am so envious of your pace. As a back-of-the-packer, I keep trying to increase my speed but am starting to accept that I am indeed a turtle. With regard to headphones, I don't wear them. I find them too distracting. To some degree listening to music and running is the equivalent of walking and chewing gum. Requires more energy and focus than I possess. BTW, I'm still on the Hanson plan. I'm tired but getting stronger each week. I can feel a real difference.

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    1. I miss all of the goal pace runs from Hanson. That's the one thing that the Run Less Run Faster plan lacks in the beginning. They add some of those in towards the end, but if I remember correctly, Hanson has those from the start so your legs get used to the goal pace. But RLRF seems to have more focus on speed work, which might help me get faster. I guess I will only find out come race time. Speed feels like it comes so slowly. When I talk to people who run faster than me, I feel like that's an impossible task, but then I have been gradually getting faster with training. A gradual build. Don't get frustrated with it! You are doing awesome, especially if you have stuck to the Hanson plan. It is NOT easy.

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  21. A race I originally started training for and then switched out off had the same policy. I understand it for elites who are going for a win. One little bump from someone not paying attention could really affect them, but for normal people just running for fun I don't see a problem. If you aren't near the elites I say they should let you go for it.

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  22. Yeah, I don't get the whole 'no headphones' thing! like you said, way safer in a race than just being out on your own. I think the Portland Marathon is the opposite of Rocket City, pretty sure they encourage headphones :)

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  23. Awesome training week! I love all things CLIF also:)

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  24. A. I love everything Clif. The coconut chocolate bars taste like Girl Scout Samoas. Nom nom nom.
    2. Humidity is INSANE. My clothes are completely drenched by mile 3.
    C. I was curious to read the comments regarding headphones, hoping I'd learn some big secret as to why they aren't allowed. I wanted to e challenged, have my mind changed. Nope, we mostly seem to agree. I don't train with earbuds but I like to race with music on a closed course for sure!

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  25. i meant to comment a while back when you entered my giveaway-but i’m back! :) love your blog! we’ve apparently run several of the same races but never met. I’m (hopefully) running the huntsville 1/2 in november and they are sticklers for the headphones. I ran a 10k there on memorial day and it was the same rule. no one had them. I snuck them and used them in the middle of the race.

    i just used a road noise vest for Hood to Coast and really liked it-not sure I could use it for a marathon though-it may get heavy.

    and, currently injured so no running. boo. but i am over the humidity!

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  26. I love that tank top! I don't understand the no headphones rule for closed courses. And I really don't understand the no MP3 players at all.... even the 200 mile overnight relay I just did allowed music below the shoulders - i.e. with speakers on. Kudos to you. I have heard it's a good race, I just think it's a crappy rule.

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