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How To Run With Your Phone According To A Running Coach

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If you’re anything like me, you find yourself wanting to have your phone on you at all times. Heck, it’s more than a communication device. Useful for everything from playing music to tracking workouts, for people lacking a SmartWatch or other GPS device, carrying a phone seems downright necessary.

Before we delve into how to run with your phone, let’s discuss the top reasons people want their phone when they venture out to pound the pavement.

Why Carry a Phone When You Run?

✓ Safety First! One of the top reasons people report carrying a phone when they run is safety. First, it enables you to call someone if you need assistance. Second, your spouse or roommate can track your iPhone/Android phone if you don’t return home as expected.

✓ Mapping Workouts: If you lack a Garmin, Fitbit, or another tracking device, your smartphone can track your mileage and pace for you. For people trying to keep themselves accountable for the workout, this is a valuable tool.

✓ Music (or something else!): Many of us count on music to keep our brain engaged during a workout. Having your phone handy means, you can make playlists, listen to Pandora or even find an awesome Podcast. Some people even listen to audiobooks when on easy runs.

✓ The Selfie: Ever heard the phrase, “Pics or it didn’t happen!”? Whether it is a picture of a sunrise or a selfie where your eyelashes are covered with ice and snow, taking post-run selfies ranks up there with fun runner moments.

✓ Encouragement: Some programs even offer you encouragement for your workouts. Apps often have achievement milestones and digital awards for a job well done.

✓ Workouts: You can even find planned workouts on apps such as Nike Running Club. Everything from a long run to speed work is included to help you grow as a runner.

How To Run With Your Phone?

If you have been a runner for a while, you likely have noticed many different products to allow you to carry your phone. So if you’re asking yourself how to run with a phone, there are many solutions!

1. Belt

If you don’t mind wearing something around your waist, there are many different types of belts made to allow you to carry your phone while you run.  There are so many brands to choose from. Whether you prefer a continuous loop like a Flipbelt or something with a clasp like a Spibelt, there is sure to be a belt to meet every need.

running with a running belt

Things to look for if researching purchasing a belt:

  • Is it stationary, or does it bounce more than you like?
  • Is it big enough to fit your phone?
  • Do you have other things you want to carry, like fuel, water, and keys?

2. Armband

An armband is another option for carrying your phone. BoneRun is an excellent choice in a band that gets rave reviews.

running with armband

If you are considering this product for your needs, ask yourself:

  • Does the band fit your upper arm?
  • How will you feel about layering clothing under the band in cold weather? Be sure to allocate room for that.
  • Will your phone freeze if exposed to the elements in winter?

3. Bra Clip

Female athletes often prefer a bra clip product like the Koala Clip. This device holds your phone and clips it to the back of your bra. Many people find this more comfortable than a waist pack or armband. Benefits include that it is out of the way, and your layers of clothing will keep it protected from cold.

koala clip

Negatives are that it is not easily accessible if you need it mid-run, which hinders its ability to help keep you safer in case of an emergency.

4. Handheld Devices

There are also phone holders that you hold in your hand. Equipped with a strap that helps to keep the phone firmly in place, they prevent dropping. However, you are still left.. literally.. holding the bag. Reviews are mixed on this one. People either love them, or they don’t. Maybe it’s an item you will like?

hendheld running cellphone holder

This type of phone holder is especially liked by people who want easy access to their device during the workout.

5. Backpack

A running backpack is the item of choice for many ultra runners. But, if you have to pack up hydration and nutrition for 50 to 75-mile runs, you need something bigger than a pouch! And if you’re going to carry all that stuff, why not just stick your phone inside also? Heck, you may even pack a portable phone charging device if you plan to be running all day and into the evening!

running backpack

When choosing a pack, find something that feels comfortable right off the bat. You want a adjustable pack to accommodate a variety of clothing layers and sits perfectly in an area where you find it does not bother you. You should not feel a lot of bounce, and friction is a bad thing.

6. Pockets

New on the fitness scene is leggings with pockets. If the pants or running leggings are snug enough, a pocket might work.

running leggings with pockets for phone

However, the danger of storing your phone in a pocket while you run is that it might bounce out. The last thing you want is your phone hitting cement or asphalt.

No Fancy Device?

So if you don’t have a fancy belt or band and you’re trying to figure out where to put your phone when running, people often get creative.

Tucked in a bra. Advantage? It’s handy. Disadvantage? It gets pretty sweaty in there.

Tucked into the band of pants or shorts: advantage? Again, it’s handy. Disadvantage? It is in danger of sliding out, which isn’t good.

Hoody or jacket pocket: again, the advantage of this is it is easily accessible. Again, it could pop out and end up on the ground.

Hold in hand: I have seen people running along just holding their phone. The positives of this are you can easily check messages or switch music. Of course, the negatives are it is distracting but also that you could potentially drop the phone, especially when you are hot and sweaty! And on cold days, you risk your phone freezing up.

In sock band: remember those giant tube socks of the 80s? Once I saw a runner with a phone tucked into the top of his sock. Sure, it’s a cheap mode of transporting it. However, I’m not sure I want my phone pressed against my calf for 30 minutes or more.

Things To Ask Yourself When Deciding

You should ask yourself some basic questions when deciding what you need.

  • What type of device sounds comfortable to you?
  • Do you want your phone to be easy to access?
  • Do you frequently look at your phone when you run?
  • Will you have other things to carry? What is your budget?
  • What do your running friends recommend?
  • Can you try someone else’s phone-carrying product to see how it works for you?
  • How far are you running?

This brings us to another often asked question:

Is It Bad To Stop During A Run To Look At My Phone?

Is it bad? How to run with your phone? Do you run with one in the first place? Honestly, that depends on what the workout is about and what your goals are. For example, I often peek at my phone between intervals while on a rest break if I’m doing speed work. Or, if I’m doing a nice easy run, I might peek if I feel a buzz of the phone.

However, if I am eyeballs deep in a tempo run, I never touch my phone. Instead, I set it to my favorite inspiring music mix and just get busy. Just like many other things related to running, it’s a very personal decision. Every athlete is different.

Run safe, run smart but most of all, run happy. So if stopping to take a selfie in front of a beautiful sunset makes you happy, have at it. Who are we to judge?


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