Can I Listen to Music During Runs?

Runner with headphones
Henrik Sorensen

"I get bored during some of my longer runs. Is it OK to listen to music on my phone?"

There are several reasons why you shouldn't wear headphones and listen to music while running outside. The music may block noise from oncoming cars, cyclists, other runners -- even unfriendly dogs. One of the basic etiquette rules of running is that you can hear others, so you can move out of the way or stop, when necessary.

Another downside is that your cadence may be off, as you'll likely speed up and slow down based on the tempo of the music.

If you wear headphones during a race, you'll miss out on a lot of the race excitement. You won't be able to listen to bands, hear people cheering, or talk to other runners. There's also a chance that your music listening device could fail during your race, so it's important that you don't get totally dependent on it.

If You Need Music, Listen Safely

With all that being said, I know that long runs can sometimes get monotonous, especially if you're running alone. You might want to try finding a running group, so you'll have people to run with. Or, try switching up your routes for a change of scenery.

If you really need music for motivation (and there are lots of people who do!), try using it on a low volume or with one earbud out, so you can still hear what's going on around you.

You can download songs that are a specific bpm (beats per minute), so they'll match your cadence in your run (if you care about that sort of thing). And if you want to listen to music on your phone for those boring treadmill runs, it's perfectly safe to do that.

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