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 doing 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.