Is Running with Headphones on worth it?

(Last Updated On: July 14, 2021)

Is Running with Headphones on worth it?

More and more, runners use headphones while exercising. According to a 2016 study, 61% of runners listen to something while running, of which 82% listen to their favorite music. In 2017, a similar study of US running trends confirmed these trends. More than half of the runners said they train with music or podcasts. However, some clean run advocates find it unacceptable to plug something in their ears while jogging. Further, this controversy began many years ago, with the introduction of Walkman.

During this time, runners’ experiences and research have helped articulate the pros and cons of running with headsets, so it is easier for you to weigh your arguments and make your choice. Here are three main pros of using headsets on your next run.

Music will energize you for your workout:

Perhaps every runner at least once (and most likely more than once) found himself in a situation where he did not want to go to training, which needs to be done in preparation for a 5, 10 km race for a half marathon. Therefore, in case you need some extra motivation, your favorite playlist is perhaps one of the best solutions.

Music will help keep the pace:

Many runners prefer to run without music so that nothing prevents them from focusing on their breathing and their strides to control their pace. Music or podcasts would be distracting, wouldn’t they? Not necessary.

On the other hand, the right music can help runners keep pace with their workouts. Research confirms that runners perform better when listening to music that matches their cadence than when running without music.

It will be easier for you to run:

Any regular workout is a lot of work, so why not make it easier to perceive.

A study from Keele University, UK, found that when athletes listen to their favorite music while exercising, their perceptions of fatigue are reduced. The feeling of “everything is okay” is increased. Another study from 2020 also found that fast-paced music reduces perceived exertion stress in endurance training.

An external stimulus (which turns out to be music) can block your internal signals, for example, about fatigue, which begin to enter the brain somewhere in the middle of a run. When the perception of tension from running is reduced, the athlete can run faster for longer.

Along with Pros, a few Cons are also associated with the use of headsets during running. For example, one of the main arguments against running with headsets on is your safety. Dangers can be from cars, cyclists, and people who walk (primarily if they also use headsets). In addition, when music is playing in your ears, you can easily miss the sound of a vehicle approaching you, warnings from other people, and even natural sounds of danger or bad weather. Therefore, when planning to run on busy streets or a busy park, it is best to leave your headphones at home.

Additionally, while training with music has worked well, you should not rely on music for morale alone, as it may happen that on the big day, the day of the race, you will not be able to use it.


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