It seems like running while listening to music is a pretty polarising subject – you’re either all for it (and spend more time looking at Spotify than actually running) or you’re dead against it.
So what are the pros and cons of running with your favourite Miley Cyrus track pumping through your airpods?
How running with music can help you
First let’s look at the positive effects of listening to music during a running session.
Running with music has been shown to increase running performance.
Running with fast loud music has been shown to increase running performance even more.
And achieving a faster average pace doesn’t feel any harder, thanks to the magic effects of music.
There is also evidence to suggest that your running cadence will match the cadence of your music.
So you can actually use specific types of music to control or improve the consistency of your running cadence over the course of your run.
Why you wouldn’t run while listening to music
So far listening to music sounds like a winner – so what are the negatives?
Let’s start with the obvious safety one – as headphones get better at blocking out the surrounding noise, your ability to perceive threats such as vehicles, bikes and nefarious characters is inhibited, which can put you at risk depending on where you are running.
Along with a lack of awareness of your surroundings, there’s a lack of audible feedback on how you are running.
It’s been shown that the impact forces of the foot hitting the ground are greater when you’re listening to music through headphones.
This can increase your risk of conditions like bone stress injuries.
Should you run with headphones and music?
Overall listening to music on a run can have some great benefits like increased performance for the same effort but you need to weigh up the risks in every situation.
If you’re on a track or somewhere without any traffic, the benefits of running with headphones are well worth it.
But if you’re running alone, at night or you’re in a busy residential area, the chance of a car or bike collision may be too much of a risk to take.