Let’s Hear It For My Buds!

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For years I went around thinking that I suffered from seriously abnormal ears.  I got my first iPod and couldn’t wear the headphones that came with it.  I would shove them in, wiggle them around, press really hard…and plop they would fall out.  I tried ear buds that stuck straight into your ears with foam plugs, only to have them fall at my side.  I was certain that I would live a life of wearing 1990’s style over the head headphones.

I felt like a blast from the past at the gym or on the road.  Am I the only one not wearing ear buds?!  I was stuck to trying style after style of the old school headphones.  Most of them were so annoying.  They would bounce around on my head or eventually one ear would stop working and I had to decide before a run which ear was lucky enough to hear music that day.  I tried the headphones that go around the back of your head and loop over your ears.  That solved the problem of them bouncing on top of my head, only to have them bounce around the back of my head.

A few years ago I was doing a North Face Endurance Challenge and they had a booth for Yurbuds.  I walked past, too shy to tell them about my “problem.”  I figured whatever these were made for, they certainly couldn’t help me with my problem.  After we left the race I had major regrets about not going up to them and asking them about their product.

Finally last spring my throwback headphones went on the fritz again and I stopped into Best Buy.  They were “out of” the headphones I had been using.  Truth be told, I think the salesman had found empathy in my time warp and didn’t have the heart to tell me that they just plain don’t sell them anymore.

I wandered aimlessly through Best Buy and contemplated buying a giant pair of seriously old school giant headphones, knowing full well they wouldn’t make it through a single run.  It was at that point that I sucked it up, spent the $30 and bought my first pair of Yurbuds.  I honestly had no hope for these guys.  My ears certainly weren’t capable of handling these.

And then I did my first run….cue heavens opening up and angelic sounds.  I couldn’t believe it.  Not only did they stay in my ears but the sound quality was amazing and they were so comfortable.  At the end of my run I turned to my husband and announced that my prayers had been answered.

I cannot recommend these headphones more highly.  If you can’t wear ear buds you must try wearing Yurbuds.  They are designed to go onto your ear and then slightly “twist” to lock into position.  Yurbuds are designed by athletes who know all about running and other endurance sports.  They guarantee that these will stay in your ears.

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Yurbuds also come in several different styles including specific ones for women, ones with a speaker to use with your phone, and several top of the line versions.  I go with the Ironman version as I think they are very sturdy and the cord seems to last very well.  They also have a new wireless version that is on the higher end of their product line.  No matter what pair you go with you are guaranteed to come away with a very quality product.

As for customer service, you will find nothing better than these guys.  I had a pair that suddenly stopped sounding great.  I contacted them and they immediately set up a way for me to ship my old ones back and in the meantime they sent me a brand new pair.  They were prompt and very helpful.

If you have “weird” ears like me, give these guys a shot.  If you are ready for a new pair of headphones and just want some quality music on your run look no further!

Disclaimer:  I do not work for or receive anything from Yurbuds.  I am simply a changed woman 🙂

Happy running!

Let the Music Move You….

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When I took up running several years ago, I simply went to the gym every day and did my three miles on the treadmill. Ear buds won’t stay in my ears and I didn’t really have an ipod, so I would read the CNN ticker as it repeated the same news over and over again. Needless to say, those three miles were the longest and most boring part of my day.

My husband kept telling me that running would be so much more fun with music. I finally got a pair of old school head phones and the world of running as I knew it changed forever. Suddenly I can run for miles and miles and it feels way easier than those old days sans tunes.

Music is a very powerful tool for runners. It can help keep your mind from wandering into those disastrous chats we have with ourselves where we start to believe we are tired, when we are actually just bored. The sound in your headphones helps drown out the negative clatter in your brain. The beat of music can help pull your body along and make your perceived effort seem a lot less difficult. Different songs with different beats can also change up your pace a bit, which is also helpful.

During my running group a few nights ago we were chatting about the music we listen to when we run. We all confessed that we would be a bit embarrassed if other people heard the music we chose to run to. I will be the first to admit that the music I enjoy in the car is very different from what I listen to when I run. My Ipod is an eclectic mix of top 40 songs, rap, country, and a little bit of everything. I am the first person to join in the chats about how Miley Cyrus is an awful role model for young girls. But the other night I walked out and proudly announced to my husband, “I just added some Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears to my running mix.” If I can do it, we all can do it! Don’t be afraid to step out of your everyday music routine to find something fun that works for you.

One girl in the running group was telling us that she had been running half marathons for a long time, with a goal of breaking under two hours. She just kept coming up short. A fellow running friend urged her to listen to music and she swears that was the key to her finally breaking past the two hour barrier.

Mill1(Bad blurry pic but I like to think its because I was running so FAST!)

Draw inspiration from the radio, commercials, and movies. I often hear songs in the background of commercials and google it to find out who the artist or song is. Movie soundtracks also often cover new songs that are fun. When I watch hockey games I like to listen to the songs they blast between plays, I figure that if it can pump up an NHL player, it is probably good for me too!

Another fun idea is to create a mix around inspirational movies or scenes that evoke excitement for you. I once made a running list based on past inspirational movies such as “Rudy”, “The Last of the Mohicans”, “ Rocky”, “Karate Kid”, and a few other blasts from the past.
Be creative and have fun with your music. Don’t be afraid to try something new. No one needs to know what crazy music you listen to but yourself.

One way of creating play lists is based on the type of training or races you are doing.  For example, if you are racing a 5k this weekend, some awesome fast paced music might be perfect to help you run a speedy 5k.  If you are new to 5ks this is not a good idea as you might collapse at mile one!  If that is the case, you might enjoy adding some fun comedy routines along with music to keep you amused and motivated along the way.  However, if you are a novice runner and training for a marathon, some nice fun music for a long weekend run might include both some fast music along with some new top hits to keep you moving for a few hours.  I am a huge fan of the NPR show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” hosted by fellow runner Peter Sagal.  If you are in Chicago on Sundays and see a woman running  with head phones and laughing hysterically out loud, give me a wave!

In recent months I have found an awesome product that I now swear by.  I could never wear ear buds of any kind, but I tried out Yurbuds, which are guaranteed to never fall out.  I was skeptical at first, but if you have trouble with ear buds staying in your ears this is the product for you!  They are incredibly comfortable, stay in for my entire run, and the sound quality is great.  They also have great customer service.  I had a pair that stopped working and after a quick e-mail to the company, they shipped me a new pair.

A quick side note, as a RRCA certified running coach, the RRCA is a firm believer in not listening to music while running.  Part of their belief is that it can take away from the pure pleasure of a run as well as the sense of running a race as a group.  I do realize and acknowledge that many runners prefer a more “purist” form of running and do not run with music.  However, I personally do not do any group running with music, and enjoy a conversation pace chat with fellow runners, but also enjoy my alone time with some music and a long run.  I especially think music can be a huge motivational factor for beginning and intermediate level runners.

Have fun and enjoy your runs with some tunes.  Just make sure to keep the music low enough to be able to hear what is going on around you.  If I am running in busy areas I often turn my music off until I get back on a trail.  It is easy to get too into the music and become distracted.  Safety is and should always be your first concern.