Goofy Training Update: Am I a Cheater?

GoofyMedals Happy Monday and I am glad it is Monday.  Last weeks schedule was the hardest to date and I was able to get through it.  It was a total of 50 miles for the week with 30 of the miles on Saturday and Sunday but I made it!  Surprisingly my legs feel good today albeit a little tired.  So I had a great week, with one small exception and that comes from the fact I am being labeled a cheater…..  so why is that?

Because when I run I use headphones and music.

I ask for your opinion at the end of the story.  So weigh in people, let me know what you think!!!!!!!

So what happened? I post on the message boards on Hal Higdon’s website from time to time.   Usually questions about training, so here is a post I put up about wearing headphones for the goofy challenge because I am afraid of being DQ’ed.  With my previous 2 marathongs, I had music along with the a ton of other people and never heard anything about this.

So I mostly posted this out of fear, I cannot imagine running nearly 5 hours without music:

A friend told me that the Disney Marathon is a no head phones run, and if you are caught running with headphones you will get DQed. Does anyone know if this is true? I checked on the marathon site but all I saw was the typically do not wear headphones. I have run several races with that very same message, but it was more of a polite request. I have not heard of any races were they DQed headphone wearers. Seems like it is a bit extreme to me. Does anyone have any insight on this? Thanks!

To which I got a couple of good replies with the proper rules and how the runs have changed, I respected and understood this reply.  I found this one informative and I liked it mostly because of the last sentence which ends with have fun:

While I can’t comment specifically on the Disney Marathon I can say that many marathons are starting to follow the rules of USAT&F as they should being that they are sanctioned events. Per USAT&F:

Rule 144, Section 3B states: The visible possession or use by athletes of video or audio cassette recorders or players, TV's, CD or DVD players, radio transmitters or receivers, mobile phones, computers or any similar devices in the competition area shall not be permitted.

As a for instance: Starting 2007 at the Twin Cities Marathon, anyone caught with electronic devices has been DQ'd and banned from entering the following year. Race officials even went as far as to go through finisher photos to retroactively enforce the rule.

Make sure you know the rules at this event and abide by them whatever they are regardless if you agree with them or not.

Good luck and have fun out there,

With that understanding I asked a follow up to see if anyone has gotten Dq’ed from the Disney runs and this is when I go this reply:

I hate to be the voice of reason...but if it is requested that you do not race with them, then why break the rules???

If everyone broke the rules, how fair would sport be? There is enough illegal drafting already in triathlon for example.

As far as to how it is enforced...if you don't have earphones, you won't need to worry about that!

Sorry to be so blunt, but I am tired of doing races fairly only to see cheaters who are oblivious to the rules or chose to ignore them.

Now when I see that, my gut reaction was this person needs to stay away from caffeine, and for about 10 seconds I decided I was not going to reply, but then I found myself typing away:

WOW a cheater, I always thought as myself simply as a runner. I could see being called a rule breaker, but a cheater, I am not sure how you equate drafting to that of wearing headphones. BTW if am drafting you or if you are drafting me, news flash, you are not go to win but I guarantee you wont be last. 🙂

I do not know about you, but I do not get paid to run and the reason I wear headphones is for the emotional support and distraction the music provides. Normally my wife and kids pick out my running songs. It helps break the grind of a long run.

We have all seen the recommended or do not wear notes, but the class of runners I run with normally all wear headphones and there is not a single one of them I would call a cheater. I understand that is recommended for safety, but I am extremely safe runner.

The two conclusions I have come to about this is are:

  1. Is it so bad to be DQ’ed, it most cases you still get to finish and you still get your medal.  However you do not get an “official time” and you will not win any cash (not that I was going to anyway) or a trophy.  I am going to ask to verify, but if that is consequence for me and the amount of enjoyment music brings to me, I will most likely wear them.
  2. There are runners who are competitive and runners who are casual which I am.  The competitive runners while still have fun, are in it for vastly different reasons than the casual runners.  Of course a lot of competitive runners get paid so I understand and respect that.  When I run I am the guy smiles, waves and am just enjoys the experience of running (which includes music), I am not running for time except my own internal goals.  I am more about taking pictures,  meeting people, saying hello and thank you to the volunteers.

I do not know maybe I am looking at this the wrong way, but I have a feeling there a lot of you out there that cannot imagine running without some songs, preferably on your 8 gb Zune.

Time to sound off people let me know what you think.

UPDATE: forgot to include my schedule

Monday Lift
Tuesday 5
Wednesday 6
Thursday 5
Friday Rest
Saturday 6
Sunday 12

Comments (2)

  1. Brian says:

    Comparing wearing headphones during a marathon and drafting in a tri event are two totally different things.  There are two types of rules in these sporting events.  Those that level the playing field and those that are there for safety.  Drafting for example (tucking behind another cycling rider to reduce draft and save energy) is done to gain an advantage.  Wearing a helmet during a bike race on the other hand is there for safety.  The whole rule on wearing headphones is a safety issue not a competitive advantage issue.  I have never been beaten on one of the fun Saturday runs we go on and said, "Man if I would have just had my headphones, I could have beat him.  There are those that argue that you could listen to music that helps you keep a tempo and that could give you an advantage.  If that was the case, then tempo watches (they beep at a certain tempo) would be illegal as well.  I am not saying that Matt breaks the rules, but I am saying lets get real on the reason for the rule.  It was put in place years back when someone got clobbered by a car and they never heard or saw it because they were wearing headphones, not because some 250 pound guy caught and beat a Kenyan in a Marathon because of the power of a great iTunes list.

    The second part of my problem, is the rule a valid rule?  Again the headphone issue is a safety issue and I completely agree with that.  But for many races that race on a closed course (they close the streets and there is no traffic, most of your major Marathons are like this) does wearing headphones put you at risk.  Now I ran the Chicago Marathon and there were people out there with headphones even thought the rules said they could not, but were they at any greater safety risk.  In my opinion, no.  Now for those races that are on open courses (they close 1 lane, but there are still cars on the road) I completely agree.  Most of the Tri events I do are like this and you have to be able to hear a car or a cop telling you it is clear.

    I am a firm believer that the race directors create the rules and we as participants either need to respect them or not participate, I just also ask that the directors give thought to them, make sure they are valid rules.

    So there is my two cents on the headphones issue and I know I am one of thousands who have an opinion that has been in the running world for some time.

  2. Larry says:

    Running by yourself, I think headphones are ok.  Running with others, you should have all your senses free from distraction.  Besides, it’s a lot cooler to loudly hum the theme from ‘Rocky’ while you’re passing the Kenyan, lol.

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