When it comes to selecting a great pair of headphones for a marathon, I’ve got a few basic requirements — its got to be comfortable, its got to stay connected and charged for the whole run and it has to be small enough to stow away in a pocket at mile 21, especially when the Greatest Showman soundtrack starts to grate on me. One pair of headphones that have passed the test with flying colors are the Beats Powerbeats, and it's currently 50% off on Amazon.
The Powerbeats are high-performance wireless headphones that have 15 hours of playback time (which should be long enough for most training sessions or marathons). The ear hooks are highly adjustable and can be squeezed around the ear for a secure fit. The Powerbeats are sweat and water-resistant. I also love that the two earbuds are connected via a wire — I often find with the Powerbeats Pro (which have the same earbud design, but don’t have the wire) have issues where one headphone won’t have charged or connected. Or that I’ll drop one headphone in the gym when taking it out.
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On the run, the Powerbeats earbuds make it easy to pause your music to stop and chat to a fellow runner, turn the music up or down and skip tracks that you find annoying. I’ve also used the Powerbeats to call family and friends on slower, easy runs, to ensure I’m running at a conversational pace, or if I feel uncomfortable running home alone in the dark. The sound quality is excellent and I’ve never had any issue connecting these to my iPhone, Garmin Fenix 6S or Apple Watch 6.
I first opted to wear these for the London Marathon in 2018, as I’d done most of my training wearing the headphones. I found the design extremely comfortable and I was able to take one earphone out when the crowds went mad, without the worry of losing one earbud. I did find the wire bouncing against my neck a little irritating by the final few miles of the marathon, but by that point literally everything was annoying me. To avoid this bouncing, I opted for Beats Powerbeats Pro and put these in for my next marathon.
Three years later, I went back to the Powerbeats as I’d realized that without a bag drop (bag drops at some races have been temporarily removed for social distancing measures) the nine-hour battery life of the Powerbeats Pro might not last the entire race, by the time I’d factored in the journey. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked running in the Powerbeats again, and, learning from my mistakes, I tucked the wire up into my cap to avoid any bouncing.
When it comes to the other technical pros, the headphones have a voice assistant, so iOS users can chat to Siri on the move, although I’ve never tried this. I’m also a huge fan of the five-minute charge feature, which gives one hour of playback when the battery is low — extremely handy if, like me, you forget to charge your devices before deciding to go for a run. For iPhone users, the Powerbeats also use the same Lightning cable to charge, which is super handy if you’re traveling to a race.