Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fireworks with the headphones controversy

This week's Take It and Run Thursday focused on 4th of July fireworks--the big controversies in the running world. When I read it, the only thing I could think of was headphones at races.

It's a topic I've discussed before, so this is really more review than anything else. The USATF recently reversed their stance on using headphones in races. Very intelligently, they recognized that elite runners aren't wearing them and non-elite runners (um, the majority of us) gain a lot by using them.

When I'm on a long run, it's the music that keeps me going. It takes my mind off of how my knees are feeling and how many miles I have left. If I the right song comes on, it takes me back to the first time I heard the song or a happy memory when I heard it. More than anything, it stops me from being bored while my feet continue to pound.

I see two distinct philosophies when making laws or rules. You can either allow people to do something because you know that the vast majority of people won't abuse it. Or, you can restrict everyone because a few people abuse it. And, rather than dealing with the abusers, you can punish everyone.

Needless to say, I subscribe to the first theory. Allow the rule followers to use headphones and deal with the abusers separately. And by abusers, I mean people who have their music too loud so that they're running into people and creating a danger. It's easy enough to find and that should be the focus, if at all.

I haven't run many races since the USATF made the policy change so I'm hoping that race directors will follow their guidance. After all, I'm nowhere close to winning the race so what's the harm in having the melodic sounds of the Beastie Boys serenade my final mile?


Mel-2nd Chances said...

I'm with ya, I enjoy running with music. I know I'll never win a race, but it still carries me though. I like the atmosphere of a race, so I only use one earbud so I can hear everything around me, so I think it's a good balance. Have a great day!

ShirleyPerly said...

Hmm, I wasn't aware that USATF had reversed their ruling on headphones. I doubt USAT (the triathlon governing body) ever will as there are much more safety issues involved. One athlete was recently hit by a car during a race even while not wearing headphones, unfortunately. Very sad.

Petraruns said...

I always traing with headphones, I've never raced with them. I have considered it but I don't feel I need it so much. I don't mind others using them, although I do think it detracts from the camaraderie and group feeling you can get out of banter with other runners. Thoughts? My bff ran London with headphones and really regretted it - she said she felt she missed out on the atmosphere...

EndorphinBuzz said...

I also train with headphones and leave them at home at races. First because it's a safety issue and also because I want to take it all in and headphones would disconnect me from that.

With all the runners around to motivate and inspire on race day, I don't really need music.