Running With AirPods: How To Use AirPods Effectively

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Since Apple launched its popular AirPod in-ear wireless earphone in 2016, running with AirPods has been a hot discussion topic. 

Having the right headphones can make or break your run. 

Listening to a motivational playlist or podcast is a huge benefit during your training, but no one wants to struggle with dangling cords or earbuds that constantly fall out. 

Wireless headphones have been around for a long time, but runners often struggle to find the perfect pair that fits their ear shape and doesn’t fall out when they run. 

That’s why running with Airpods has become so popular.

Here’s our Airpod buyers guide for runners, and how to run with Airpods effectively.

Are AirPods good for running?

Let’s find out!

Running with Airpods

Why People are Raving About Airpods

Aside from the wireless asset, Airpods come with features that set them apart from a typical pair of standard headphones. 

They Have Two Sound Settings

Noise cancellation is a magical feature that allows you to tune out of all background noises and focus on the music. But it can be dangerous. 

If you’re running on a busy street, you can’t hear the cars zooming past. That’s usually a good thing, except when a car is out of line and comes rushing toward you. 

So many runners opt for the Transparency mode of the Airpods. It doesn’t totally block out all the background noise, but it still dims that extra noise, while still letting you hear the sound clearly and loudly, and be alert to what goes on around you. 

The Sound Quality is Consistent and Reliable

A lot of wireless headphones will slowly weaken over time (not just when the battery is low). 

But runners are consistently reporting that the Airpod sound quality is always clear and doesn’t buzz in and out, the way some headphones do.

The sound competes with the loud noises of outdoor running. 

Airpods Need Less Maintenance 

You still have to make sure that your Airpods are charged and stored safely, but while you’re wearing them they’re easy to manage. 

The volume can be adjusted with quick taps of your finger, Siri works with the pods, and there are automatic features for pausing and playing. 

These are awesome features that make a huge difference when you’re running with Airpods – no need to stop and play with your phone with sweaty fingers!

Running With AirPods: How To Use AirPods Effectively 1

Do Airpods Fall Out When You Run?

This is a huge question for runners. You need quality wireless headphones that aren’t going to slip out and get lost while you’re running. 

Runners consistently report that Airpods don’t slip out from their ears while running during other workouts

However, they’re not infallible – Airpods are wireless, after all – and have no over-ear clips to hold them in place.

The Apple store claims that Airpods are one size fits all, but all human ears are different. Keeping that in mind, also take note that different runners have different paces and styles of the sport

If you are popping out in the morning for a regular run, running with Airpods will be totally comfortable for you. 

On the other hand, if you’re an intense runner training for a marathon or really working on your speed, you might want to consider a wired set or some additional covers to add the Airpods. 

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Pros and Cons of Running With Airpods

There’s no better way to decide on a new product than with a detailed pros and cons list.  Let’s find out . . . are AirPods good for running?

Benefits of Airpods


While you’re running, you don’t have to hold extra cords. Running hands-free is relaxing and stress minimizing. 

Before I made the switch, I was constantly holding bunches of leftover cord in my hand, stuffing it in my shirt, always searching for somewhere to put that excess material. 

You can also control your music or audio with your Apple Watch, making a seamless listening experience!

Touch Sensitive

The ability to tap and double tap for all your essential features (pausing, playing, skipping, and repeating) is a lifesaver for runners. 

All of that is due to the force sensor, a little sensitive button on the side of the Airpods. You can program it to decide what motions you’ll use for different features. 

Use it to quickly switch between Transparency mode and noise cancellation. 

Long-Lasting Battery

The battery on Airpods is resilient, maintaining a charge when you start out with full juice. Most runners say the battery lasts long enough to listen to music during an entire 3-5 hour run- perfect for most of us looking to run with Airpods. 

Easy to Store

The Airpods come with a handy little case that is super compact and easy to store in the pocket of your workout gear, gym bag, or even a purse or pocket. 

It is small though, so make sure you keep careful track of where you left it. 

Airpod Cons

Siri Doesn’t Always Work Well

Connecting Siri to your Airpods is possible, but the connection is pretty spotty.

Siri sometimes comes in and out, and doesn’t understand your directions. 

The force sensor is a more reliable way to adjust your settings. 

They Sometimes Fall Out

When the main question is, “Can you run with Airpods,” the answer is there’s no absolute guarantee that they won’t fall out during your run.

Most people do find they fall out less frequently than other wireless headphones, but when your ears get sweaty, they get slippery. 

Do Airpods fall out when you run?

Sometimes it’s inevitable. 

The Force Sensor is Complicated 

There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to programming and using the force sensor. It is a great feature if you take the time to learn it, but it might cause problems if you have a hard time learning tech products. 

Related: Why Do My Ears Hurt When I Run? 9 Reasons + How To Fix it Quick

Running With AirPods: How To Use AirPods Effectively 2

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Tips for Running With Airpods – How To Prevent Airpods From Falling Out

For most people, the biggest concern is, “Do Airpods fall out when you run?” Unfortunately, they do fall out sometimes. But there are some techniques you can use to keep that from happening. 

Keep Your Ears Dry

The number one reason Airpods fall out is due to sweaty ears.

You can’t help if you sweat, right? Especially when you’re running in hot weather, there’s no getting around it. 

But you can carry a small, water-wicking sweat towel or a buff wrapped around your wrist to wipe up some of the moisture when you’re running with Airpods. From time to time in your run, just stop for a quick break to get rid of some sweat. 

It can even be done when you stop for a sip of water, tackling two problems at the same time. 

When you dry your ears, be sure to dab them instead of swiping with the towel. If you swipe, you risk brushing up against the ear bud and knocking it out of your ear. 

While you’re dabbing, purposefully push that Airpod back into your ear, instead of loosening its position with the towel. 

Running With AirPods: How To Use AirPods Effectively 3

Adjust the Position

Since everyone’s ears are different, you have to find what works for you to keep that bud in your ear. Here are two common positions that help people keep it secure. 

  • Tip the base slightly forward: Instead of pushing it straight into your ear, tip it down so it faces your ear lobe. 
  • Twist the tip: Once the bud is in your ear, twist it up a little so it gets rid of any extra wiggle room.  

Buy Hooks or Covers 

There are multiple accessories you can buy to make your Airpods more manageable and keep them in your ear. Here are the best two:

  • Airpod hooks: These are small hooks you can actually attach to the Airpods to latch onto your ears and keep you from losing your expensive headphones. 
  • Waterproof tape: Attach small patches of waterproof tape to the buds of your Airpods to help them stay in position and keep them from slipping. 

What About Running With Airpods Pro?

running with airpods pro

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Airpods Pro are a premium version of the Apple Airpods, which come with:

  • in-ear buds to help with a good fit (they come with a few sizes) and cancelling ambient sound.
  • an active noise cancellation setting to block out background noise.
  • The Airpods Pro are water resistant IPX4 – i.e. sweat- and water-resistant – compared to the non-water-resistant AirPods.
  • The Airpods Pro also have fancy gizmos like a tiny pressure valve inside, and Adaptive EQ.

When considering going running with the Airpods Pro, the main thing to remember is your safety.

Sure, those custom-fitting buds mean your Airpod Pros won’t fall out as you run, but the noise-cancelling features are a safety hazard. You’ll be blocked out from the world around you, such that you may not hear pedestrians, other runners, vehicles, or animals around you or approaching you.

For this reason, consider limiting your Airpods Pro runs to the treadmill!

Can I Run With AirPods Max?

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Apple recently introduced the latest member of the AirPod family, the AirPods Max.

The AirPods Max are Apple’s first over-ear headphone and have already gained a reputation for unrivalled sound quality and noise cancellation.

But herein lies the issue if you want to go running with the AirPods Max; much like the Pros, the noise cancellation features are going to take you out of the zone . . . and make you less aware of your surroundings. When running outdoors, it’s critical that you’ve got good spacial awareness and know of any hazards – and being able to hear is very important.

For that reason, just like the AirPod Pros, it’s best if you keep the AirPods Max for non-running activities, or at best some treadmill time.

Should I Use Airpods While Training for a Marathon?

It all depends on your running style and your priorities. Ask yourself these questions. 

Do I value a hands-free run over security that my headphones won’t fall out?

Do I run fast and intense or slow and steady?

Am I willing to stop and dry my ears halfway through the run?

Am I willing to spend extra money on additional accessories for running with Airpods?

Do I appreciate the high quality of sound over stability of the headphones position?

The answers to these questions will help you review this guide to running with Airpods and reveal the right answer to your decision. 

One more thing: if you haven’t started your marathon training plan yet, go ahead and download our free training plans.

They’re fully customizable, with different plans to suit your unique goals. 

Running with Airpods

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Photo of author
Mia Kercher is a hiker, cyclist, and runner. After finishing her first marathon in 2013, she continued the sport but found a new passion in trail running. She now explores the glorious mountains in Portland, Oregon.

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