A minor debate exists among runners: to run with or without MP3's/podcasts/iPods/etc. Races that formerly took a hard line against the use of any such devices have become more tolerant over the years. Many people find they can only run distances if they have audio distractions.
My opinion on the matter is that during a race, I am focused on running to the point where I largely do not want or need music/podcasts, but often a point comes in the race where my fatigue is noticeably reduced by a steady fast beat from some loud punk or rock music (techno can be nice too). Additionally, when I am running the same 4 mile out and back at my house for the 100th time, it can get a little tedious. Therefore, I do listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks. This lets me multitask to learn and stay fresh with current events while staying fit and training. Interestingly, spoken word seems to slow my pace (which may be good for long, slow days).
This all brings me to today's gear post. At the Disney expo, I found a booth for Yurtopia who has recently started manufacturing a product called yurbuds. These are molded gel inserts for your standard earbuds so that they fit snugly in your ear. They are not custom (very expensive) but they are sized (using a picture of your ear). Previously, I had been using over-the-ear plastic things that at least kept the buds from popping out, but they never fit very snugly.
After using them for the last week, I am thrilled. For $30 ($25 at the expo) you get yurbuds and new earphones to match. Mine have never been in danger of falling out of my ears. Between the custom sizing and slight stickiness of the silicone, they stay put very well in the ear. They are very close to my ear shape and I can wear them for hours without any pain in my ears.
Anyway, even if you are happy with your current audio solution, if you see them at your next race expo, stop by for a quick fitting and see what you think.
I took this picture holding my digital camera at arm's length, and this is all you need to get fitted.
The company has an affiliate program you can sign up for. My affiliate code is: HKTIC if you decide to make a purchase.