Heh - Yeah I know this is a pretty controversial topic. Or maybe not. Until a couple weeks ago, I was under the impression that no one competitively racing ultras used headphones. No one ever mentioned it in their blogs, I rarely saw top finishers with them on.
Then comes a few WS100 race reports, including Timothy Olson who apparently wore headphones in the final miles. I personally never run with music, mainly because I kicked the habit during the days of discmans, where your music skipped if you ran too fast. I totally get the trail etiquette piece of this, and I can race a 50 without it. I also have some reservations because running trails for me is partly about embracing the trails and nature.
It got me thinking though, if I was listening to something primal like Metallica, or industrial with 200 plus BPM, that may just be what I need to finish strong the last 20 miles of a 100 mile race. Forget about the pain and focus on the primal nature of a good skull crushing tune. I'm interested in who uses it mainly to just keep up the pace when there is nothing else left in the final miles and how/why.
I think that they can come in handy in the middle of the night.
OCD If you don't laugh ...
You'll ruin your knees!
Meltzer rocks out during races... I heard his music blasting from headphones long before I saw him coming back at me at Bighorn one year... he won (and I didn't).
""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)
I'm a no-headphones runner during training. Never wear them.
But someone suggested I take the headphones and a playlist along during my races, and try them if I get into a bad place mentally. I've taken them on all my ultras since, and I've used them on all but one occasion. I've only had the headphones in for maybe 30 minutes? But they totally turned my mood around. I recommend! If it isn't working you can always take them out.
I don't use music in any training but I have for a few races. I used an ipod nano most of the night at Hellgate and I think it can really help. Hey, after 6 hours of running ANY distraction is welcoming! So I have used it in a few 50 mile races. Not sure if I will at Superior, as Superior is fairly interesting with all the terrain.
Like others have said, I use an Ipod when I've been running alone for too many miles or when I fall into a bad place mentally. Instead of music I generally listen to Podcasts. "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" or something funny can really help to keep me level headed. Like in the middle of the night, alone on an unfamiliar trail, searching for a marker and imagining that noise off in the darkness was a bear. Or a pack of coyotes, Or wolves. or Hogzilla
I'm not one for running (off a treadmill) with headphones. But if you look up the Des Plaines Ultra site, the RD or someone closely affiliated with the race developed a set specifically designed for ultras that are in a headband and appear to be an attempt to not completely block your hearing. It was listed as the race sponsor last year.
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Tracy Garneau on her way to winning the WS100. Wearing headphones.
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"The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.
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Vermont banned them. Actually was fine without them.
Used to wear them. Then quit for a while. Started back wearing them again and really like it on the very long runs.
BR100 didn't allow them. I think that was USATF rules. Not that I didn't see people with them but you could be DQ'ed for having them.
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As far as I can tell OC100 does not ban them. Interesting that WS100 allows them but Vermont 100 bans. Not really surprised about the USATF, they are one size fits all...
OC is laid back. But keep the volume down. Since its mostly single track and loops you will need to hear people approaching from behind. See you there!
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