Running a Marathon with Your Phone: Pros and Cons

When I started running, I never thought about bringing my phone. Instead, I would lace up my shoes, grab my headphones, and head out the door.

But as I started running longer distances, I wondered if I should bring my phone for safety reasons. What if I got injured or lost? What if I needed to call for help? Or listen to music?

Benefits of Running with a Phone

Carrying my phone with me can be incredibly beneficial for someone who enjoys running. Here are a few reasons why:


Carrying your phone while running can provide a sense of safety and security. In an emergency, having your phone with you can allow you to call for help or notify someone of your whereabouts.

Additionally, some phones have features such as GPS tracking that can help others locate you in an emergency.

Music and Podcasts

Running with a phone can also provide entertainment through music or podcasts.

Listening to music can help keep you motivated and energized during your run while listening to a podcast can distract you from any discomfort you may be feeling.

Plus, with apps like Spotify or Apple Music, you can create custom playlists or listen to pre-made running playlists to keep you moving.

Tracking Progress

Many phones have built-in fitness-tracking features or apps that can help you track your progress while running.

This can include tracking your distance, pace, and even heart rate. By tracking your progress, you can see improvements over time and set goals for yourself.

Overall, carrying a phone while running can provide a sense of safety, security, entertainment, and progress tracking.

Of course, it’s essential to use caution and be aware of your surroundings while running with a phone, but the benefits can outweigh the risks.

Drawbacks of Running with a Phone

Weight and Discomfort

Carrying a phone while running can add extra weight and create discomfort. In addition, depending on the phone’s size, it can be bulky and cumbersome to hold or wear in a pocket or armband.

This added weight can cause fatigue and strain the body, making it harder to maintain proper form and technique. Over time, this can lead to injuries such as muscle strains or joint pain.

Distraction and Disruption

Running with a phone can also be distracting and disruptive. Receiving notifications or calls can interrupt your focus and disrupt your rhythm.

It can also be tempting to check your phone during a run, taking your attention away from your surroundings and increasing the risk of accidents.

Listening to music or podcasts can also distract you from your form and technique, increasing the risk of injury.

Battery Life

Another drawback of running with a phone is the potential for battery life issues. Running apps and music streaming can drain the battery quickly, leaving you without a means of communication or navigation.

This can be especially problematic if you are running in an unfamiliar area or case of an emergency.

While running with a phone can be convenient for communication and entertainment purposes, it can also have drawbacks such as added weight and discomfort, distraction and disruption, and battery life issues.

It is essential to weigh the pros and cons and determine what works best for you and your running goals.

Alternatives to Running with a Phone


When I’m training for a marathon, I don’t want to be weighed down by my phone.

That’s why I often opt for a smartwatch instead. Smartwatches like the Apple and Samsung Galaxy Watch allow me to track my runs, receive notifications, and even call without carrying a phone.

They’re much more lightweight and comfortable to wear on long runs.

Fitness Trackers

A fitness tracker might be a good option if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to a smartwatch.

Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 4 and Garmin Vivosmart 4 can track your runs, monitor your heart rate, and even provide guided breathing exercises.

They’re also much less bulky than a phone, making them an excellent option for runners who prefer a minimalist approach.

Dedicated Running Devices

A dedicated running device might be the way for serious runners who want the most accurate tracking and data possible.

Devices like the Garmin Forerunner 945 and Polar Vantage V2 are specifically designed for runners and provide detailed metrics like cadence, stride length, and ground contact time.

They’re also much more durable than a phone, so you don’t have to worry about dropping them during a run.

In conclusion, there are plenty of alternatives to running with a phone. Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and dedicated running devices all offer unique benefits and can help you track your runs more effectively.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference and budget.

Final Thoughts

After considering the pros and cons of running with a phone during a marathon, it comes down to personal preference.

Some runners find it essential to carry their phone for safety reasons or to track their progress, while others prefer to leave it behind to avoid distractions and discomfort.

If you choose to run with your phone, it is essential to consider the best way to carry it. An adjustable armband or waistband can be a good option, as it allows you to keep your hands free and avoids the risk of dropping your phone.

Alternatively, some runners prefer to hold their phones in their hands, although this can cause imbalances in the body and lead to injuries over time.

Ultimately, the decision to run with a phone is personal and should be based on your needs and preferences.

Whether you carry your phone or leave it behind, staying focused on your goals and enjoying the experience of running a marathon is essential.



Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.