Saturday, April 5, 2008

USATF Does About Face on Headphones

From "" July 01, 2005:

"Music Improves Athletic Performance. Forget the drugs; turn up the volume. According to this LA Times story written by Jeannine Stein, music can improve the performance, reduce the pain, and sharpen the focus of athletes. Stein tells us that the way music affects athletic performance begins with the eighth nerve from the ear, which has two direct tracks: one that involves hearing, and another that goes straight to the vestibular system, that part of the cerebellum that manages balance and some motor functions. The same kinds of messages from the cerebellum that enable us to concentrate also encourage maximum performance. And then there are the studies; Stein points to two. One, done two years ago at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, found that women who listened to music ran a minute or two longer than those who didn't. They also adjusted their strides to run more efficiently, and had lower perceived exertion. Another study, done at Southwestern University in Texas, found that men cycling at a high intensity were able to exercise longer while listening to fast-paced music, and even longer while listening to music they liked. Rock on."

The USATF banned headphone use in December of 2006 at their annual meeting, sending many music-loving runners (like me) away from USATF-sanctioned events.

I just learned that two months ago, they repealed the headphone ban and applied it only to the long-distance championship race. Whew, I'm safe!

The bad news is the ban is still in effect until December 2008. Some races are so strict about the rule (like Grandma's, where guilty scofflaws who are photographed with headphones, have their time automatically disqualified and those seen running with them, will have them removed and not returned) it makes people like me who rely on my iPod pass up on many popular races.

Meanwhile, I'm elated that the USATF has seen the error of their ways, and undone the harm they have done to many common runners, such as myself, who's strongest 'ergogenic aid' is simply a stimulating playlist. Chase down the steriod-imbibing dishonest runners, and leave the bourgeois to enjoy their harmless music whilst exercising, lowering their blood pressure, burning fat and otherwise enhancing their quality of life while training for and participating in USATF-sanctioned events.

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