This summer represents a running anniversary for me, a “runniversary” if you will. I have been using AfterShokz bone conducting headphones. When I started running I was using the expensive Sennheiser headphones I bought at the airport during our Christmas holiday in 2010, they were great, the only thing I noticed about them was they were not designed for sport and over a period of time they very slowly fell apart. I should blame bad workmanship, but actually I think it was the amount of sweat just made them perish!!! Yuk.
I tried the headphones that you get free with an iPod but they kept falling out of my ear and really annoyed me, to the point of spoiling my run, mostly because I had to keep stopping to put the speaker back in my ear, and my simple solution of wearing a woolly hat didn’t really work after April as questions like “Aren’t you hot” kept coming up & yes I was. As I am over 40 I was advised by my children that I wasn’t cool enough for over the head Beats headphones, so I got a pair of PowerBeats headphones, now these were good headphones, it felt like I was in a nightclub & the music drowned out everything else, this could be considered both a good thing and a bad thing, both reasons being I could not hear the outside or anyone talking to me.
The music however was clear and crisp and very “bouncy” I have a large running playlist compiling of anything from ACDC, The Beastie Boys, all the Bond Themes, the music from the 2012 Olympics & The Piano guys (what can I say I am old) – I even have a hymn (Jerusalem, for my Nan) – Its funny my iPod seems to know when I need a loud “shouty” tune to really pick me up, listening to music during hard races really does pick me up, a good Bond theme really does start your morning run off to a good start.
Sadly the Beats headphones went the way of the Sennheiser headphones and they also broke, I did replace them but the new ones were never as good. A few bad things happened to me while wearing conventional headphones, my first year of doing the Gosport Half Marathon, I got disqualified, this made me quite sad as it was only my 2nd half and I didn’t know any better, this didn’t stop me going back the year after – minus the headphones. When you run as a group sometimes you want to chat with others and wearing headphones does mean you miss out on the conversation, most of the time on the club runs I don’t have my music on because I don’t want to miss anything like “turn left” – yes that has happened!
I got the AfterShokz headphones from Alton Sports, I had an Athlete Voucher (pictured below) and took advantage of a discount when buying shoes, well why not! At first it felt very weird the sound just appears in your head, the nightclub feeling that I had with the Beats is gone and the music is just in the background of your head, it really is a strange feeling, however you can still hear and understand what is going on in your environment, conversations can take place with no problem and more importantly you can hear your environment surrounding you, so you can turn left on command and not carry on in your own little world. This really helped me when I did the Disney Marathon, because I could really enjoy the sounds of the parks and of course listen to the motivation coaches around the course, after I had my “wobble” at mile 20!
The headphones are also allowed in some races as the sound is sent to your ears via your “outer ear” and bones in your head (read more here). All in all the experience of wearing them is better than standard headphones, you get the best of both worlds, the music is ever-present in your head and you can hear things. I got the wired version, this is because I use an iPod shuffle and that device does not come with Bluetooth, so there was no point to get the wireless versions. The battery life is great as well, both the headphones and my iPod sort of last the same amount of time (around eight hours) so I always charge them together. So that’s one less thing to remember and I like that.
So in conclusion I really like these and will continue to use them, whenever they are allowed on a race. More importantly if you ever see me at a race or a parkrun, I will be able to have a conversation with you, but if I do start to sing mid conversation you know why.
Dave Warman – Alton Sports Ambassador
Check out our full range of AfterShokz here.