Should You Run with Headphones?

Here's why running without headphones could help improve your running.


By Zoe


There are many opinions in the running community about running and listening to music--whether it helps or hinders training and performance, and whether or not it is safe. My post today looks at why it’s good to run without listening to music on headphones.

Reduce distractions

Running outside without headphones means that you are much more aware of your surroundings, your breathing and your body movement (form). Listening to music can often distract you, which can prevent you from hearing traffic, bikes, or other noises, such as dogs or, perhaps most importantly, if someone is running after you.

Enjoy the silence and soak up your surroundings

Going out for a run is a great way to clear your mind, let go of any drama and to focus on you and the open road. By running without headphones, you can enjoy being outside while being disconnected from extra noise. It can be a great time to think and mentally make plans as well as meditate in your switched off ‘zone.'

Protect your hearing!

There’s nothing like cranking up the volume to push yourself when training, but have you thought about the damage you might be doing to your ears and hearing? Running without headphones means you can think clearly and not have to worry about damaging your hearing due to an hour of loud music.

Be social

When running with friends, it can be a waste to just plug into your headphones and ignore everyone around you. Instead, use your running time to chat with friends and catch up rather than tuning out. Running with friends is a great way to multitask and be social.

In summary

There may be times when listening to music whilst running is more appropriate, such as when running on the treadmill or even running a marathon/ultra marathon to alleviate the monotony. While there is evidence that running with music can help motivate you to run longer distances and faster, there are also many benefits to running without listening to music.

It’s a very personal preference and I’ll leave it up to you to decide. But if you are a runner that always runs with headphones on, why not give it a go to see what it is like to run without listening to music? You may find you like it.

UK born and based currently in Australia, Zoe has a passion for running as evident by her participation in excess of 30 running events, including five marathons, over the past 14 years. Wanting to share her enthusiasm for running, five years ago Zoe started a blog for the everyday runner “The Girl That Runs“. This blog has quickly built up a strong following amongst runners of all ages and experience levels looking for advice with easily relatable content.

Main Photo Credit: Peter Bernik/; Second Photo Credit & Third Photo Credit: Maridav/

Fri Mar 04 11:03:32 UTC 2016

I can't read this article unfortunately because of my Internet speed, by the way, it's very helpful when I use headphones and listen to music while running. It gives me energy. It can be dangerous when a person run on street because of cars.

Fri Mar 04 12:29:49 UTC 2016

I second it Nima!!

Fri Mar 04 12:57:17 UTC 2016


Sat Mar 05 14:39:50 UTC 2016

Gotta have my wireless Beats Gives me drive

Thu Mar 24 20:22:01 UTC 2016

I agree with this article to a point!! What works for some don't work for others!! I love my wireless head phone and rare to run without music!! Music is like my running partner. I hear what's around me fine and music helps relax me and focus!! So whatever floats your boat!!

Sat Mar 26 17:54:20 UTC 2016

Yes 👍🏻👌🏻

Mon Mar 28 23:06:40 UTC 2016

Usually when I run the radio is not up loud. It's low so I can hear the traffic. It depends on the person. I do like hearing the natural sounds of the world. in the winter my headphones are my earmuffs. point is valid but some ppl actually need to block out the world to focus

Sat Apr 09 13:32:58 UTC 2016

Get this off my friends list

Sat Apr 09 14:33:19 UTC 2016

I agree Silkywaves5 when I have my headphones on, I have it on low so I can hear people and traffic around me.

Fri Apr 22 19:17:22 UTC 2016

Idk...predators look for those who are not paying attention and have headphones on, ponytails, etc. as they are easy targets. Of course it depends on where you are running, but how many times have you heard of the jogger/runner/bicycler that was attacked on the trail and strangled or whatever. It kinda makes me think twice about wearing headphones while out, especially when you're so into your run....or maybe I just watch too much of the ID channel lol

Sat Apr 23 14:54:12 UTC 2016

Minds that are more or differently aware than average may find: - music serves to taper a distractionary flood of data, helping one focus - they can effortlessly listen to multiple things simultaneously - a simple jog around the block to be as tediously monotonous as a marathon/treadmill is to a normal mind Also, the title and subtitle, having little relevance to the thesis, are misleading 🔦

Sat Apr 23 17:54:45 UTC 2016

I do also agree with your point Jen

Thu Apr 28 14:52:08 UTC 2016

I run without headphones. I meditate when I workout.