Generally, runners are allowed to wear headphones during a marathon but there are some instances where running events have banned the use of headphones whilst participating in a race because of safety.
These rules are in place so runners can be aware of possible hazards around them like safety vehicles that drive behind or alongside runners on the route whilst providing water or assistance in the case of an emergency.
However, rules about wearing headphones or listening to music during a marathon will be disclosed at the point of entry to the marathon event.
Are you allowed to listen to music during a marathon?
Yes, for some marathons the regulations board allows runners to be able to listen to music during the duration of the marathon, however, this rule may change depending on what marathon you are running so you’ll need to check the regulations of your specific race or marathon.
Some people find listening to music a major source of their motivation and drive to keep going during tough slugs of their marathon and they often create a playlist of high-energy songs to keep spirits high.
If you’re going to create a playlist for your marathon race, then make sure all the songs you’ve selected will keep you pumped and also pay more attention to putting your favorite or upbeat songs towards the later part of the playlist so keep you going during the late stages of a marathon.
Avoid using slow or sad songs in your playlist, unless that is something that motivates you to keep going as the slower music may also decrease your pace as you try and run in time to the music.
However, if you are someone who relies on music to stay motivated through a run you’ll want to check in advance for the rules about listening to music for your upcoming marathon as if they don’t allow it then you may find you will struggle without the music and you may have to train yourself to find motivation from somewhere else.
Some people may even listen to a podcast or an audiobook to completely distract them from any pain or struggles they’re enduring during the marathon.
It is a personal preference whether people have headphones in whilst they run. Some may prefer to be completely aware of their surroundings whilst others may prefer to block everything out and keep themselves inside a bubble through their music.
One major reason why some runners don’t listen to music during marathons is that they don’t want to impair the experience and atmosphere of running in this kind of event.
Thousands of people line the streets on a marathon day to cheer on and encourage runners as they pass by and you’ll find yourself being lifted by words of encouragement from strangers on the street.
You may even run past family members or friends whilst running and seeing their faces or a brief conversation may be just the one thing that motivates you to keep going when you’re beginning to struggle.
If the thought of thousands of people around you screaming as you run puts you off, then you can put headphones in to block everyone else out and focus on your pace and your breathing.
If you’re running with a friend then you may choose not to have headphones in so you can frequently check in with each other throughout the race.
Some people also meet new friends whilst running a marathon and find it comforting and motivating to run with someone else and exchange stories as to why you’re running in the event.
Is running with headphones illegal?
Wearing headphones or similar listening devices is not allowed in certain races and in particular most races that take place on roads that are not fully closed off to vehicles or pedestrians.
This rule will vary depending on what race or marathon you are running so you’ll want to check far in advance of your race so you know whether to train with or without headphones.
Races ban headphones because they want all runners to be aware of instructions such as the signal to start the race as there are sometimes instances where there is a false start but anyone with headphones in may not be aware of this happening.
Recreational running outdoors with headphones is not recommended, especially if you are running on routes with busy foot traffic or even on busy roads.
Listening to loud music whilst running will block out any sounds of oncoming vehicles, bikes, or other pedestrians who are trying to alert you to move out of the way.
Runners and cyclists often wear bone-conducting headphones that allow you to be able to hear your music but still be able to hear your environment whilst you run.