Whether you are using it for your workout jams, staying in touch, or just keeping the essentials, there’s no doubt that you need your phone on you when you are running. But it can also be awkward and uncomfortable to carry, and a distraction during a workout.
Many runners simply choose to carry their phone in their hands, but this is a habit that you should break, and there are so many other, better ways to carry your phone while running.
Reasons to Avoid Carrying Your Phone in Your Hand
More and more runners are choosing to simply carry their phones in their hand while they run. It allows them to keep an eye on their notifications, control their playlist, and even snap a quick selfie. But this trend concerns trainers and ergonomists, and leads to a host of problems. Here’s why you shouldn’t hold your phone while you run:
Phones are naturally a source of distraction, which is why you aren’t allowed to engage with them while driving. Cell phones cause “tunnel vision” that reduces your peripheral vision and lowers your response time. This naturally causes you to run slower, reducing your cardio benefits and hampering your performance and fitness goals. If your goal is to work out, then make the most of it by paying attention.
It Unbalances the Body
We habitually hold the phone in the same hand all the time, which causes uneven balance in the body. The effect on your gait is fairly small, but it makes your running less efficient.
Over time, as you run day after day, and as phones get bigger with every generation, this imbalance becomes more significant, and can lead to stress, strain, and even injury on the non-phone side of your body.
It Limits Your Workouts
Many endurance runners report that over long distances, their phone hand develops cramps and weakness. Eventually, this discomfort could be severe enough that it forces you to cut short your training session.
It May Damage Your Phone
Many smartphones are damaged by being dropped during workouts, requiring service or repair. Some runners also report that, over time, holding their phone in their sweaty hands allowed moisture to seep into the phone and damage it.
Six Great Ways To Carry Your Phone While Running
If you aren’t going to hold your phone in your hand, what are you going to do with it? We all know that tucking it into your waistband, back pocket, or sports bra simply doesn’t work; it creates an annoying bounce and moves around too much.
Armbands have become the classic way to carry your phone while you are running. Armbands keep the phone secure and stable, without bouncing or wobbling. They also keep the phone near your ears, for easy use with headphones of all kinds and quick volume adjustments as you listen to your favorite tunes.
- Holds phone securely without bouncing or chafing
- Keeps phone near the ears for headphone cords or calls
- Keeps phone out of the way of the running form
- Depending on the size of your phone, may get heavy
- May not be large enough for phone, keys, and a couple cards
- Many people find them binding and uncomfortable over long periods
The Trianium Armband is made of neoprene, so it stretches and flexes without pinching or distorting, and keeps its shape over time. It is also water-resistant, and has a screen cover that lets you interact with your touchscreen while in the armband. It has cutouts for headphones and a charger, and a built-in key pocket. It’s easy to use, comfortable to wear, and has a lifetime warranty.
If an arm band is too uncomfortable or restrictive, a leg band may be a better choice. Leg bands have the advantage of having less impact on your upper body mechanics, helping you stay better aligned while running. They also keep your phone well out of the way, reducing distractions and helping you focus on training. Of course, with a leg band, you will need to use wireless headphones.
Leg Band Pros
- Holds phone securely without rubbing or bouncing
- Reduces distractions
- More evenly distributes phone weight
- Can be larger and hold more items than typical arm bands
Leg Band Cons
- May feel unnatural and affect your gait
- May be too tight and constricting
- Requires Bluetooth and wireless headphones.
The YINYILAN Leg band has an adjustable strap, so it may also work as an arm band, depending on your size. It has an adjustable elastic band that flexes as you move, with a sturdy Velcro closures that keeps it in place. Non-skid granules prevent it from rubbing or chafing on your skin, even when your skin is wet. It’s comfortable, breathable, machine washable, and has a lifetime replacement guarantee.
While wrist bands do carry some of the disadvantages of keeping your phone in your hand, they are a great solution for people who need to monitor their phone more closely during running, while keeping the hands free.
Many sports wristbands simply turn your phone into an extra-large smart watch, giving you full access to the phone’s functions while you run. It’s the most convenient way to use an app (link: https://www.endurancely.com/best-running-apps/) during your run.
Keeps phone fully accessible and functional during exercise
- Headphone cables may swing and tangle and be distracting
- Difficult to find a comfortable spot where wristbands are tight enough to feel secure, without being so tight that they decrease circulation, particularly with a large, heavy phone
- Many people’s hands and wrists swell while running, which may mean adjusting a wrist band a few times
The VUP Wristband Phone Holder has an innovative, rotatable mounting system so you can fully access and use the screen while on the go. It is made of strong, flexible, breathable material that is light weight and fits most wrists. The elastic silicone securely grips your phone, and the band has a strong, wide Velcro closure, so you don’t have to worry about dropping or slipping. It also has a three year warranty.
The simple, sleeve-like design of the Sprigs Banjees 2 pocket wrist wallet has a streamlined design that offers a lot of comfort and security for carrying your phone while you run. The two-pocket design makes it easy to carry all your essentials.
The zippered pocket can hold cards, keys, or even cash. The phone pocket has a convenient slot for headphone cables, and the whole thing folds securely closed. It’s made of stretchy, breathable polyspandex that is comfortable and machine washable. It comes in a huge range of colors and patterns for all kinds of personal style.
Many ergonomics experts recommend a waist belt more than any other method of carrying a cell phone while running, because it keeps the weight of the phone close to the midline of the body, with less impact on gait and weight distribution.
Waist belts are also convenient because they come in a huge range of sizes, whether you just need something slim to tuck your phone away or want to carry water and stay hydrated during your workout. Waist belts can also be great for cross training, because waist belts stay stable and in place no matter what your range of motion may be.
- Ergonomic weight distribution of phone and essentials at the center of the body
- A more discrete way of carrying a phone and valuables, without attracting attention
- Convenient for handling headphone cables, because they can be tucked inside your shirt
- Can be worn with phone/weight in front or behind
Larger waist belts can feel hot during a strenuous workout
The AIKENDO Running Pouch Belt is a slim, fitted belt with enough storage to keep all your essentials while you run. It sits against the body without chafing or jiggling, with an adjustable band that fits waists from 27-45 inches.
It is made of soft, breathable fabric that is water resistant and protects your valuables from moisture. It has a large pocket with a divider and opening for headphone cords, as well as a loop and tiny pocket for a key fob or other small articles. It also has reflective stripes for night-time safety and visibility
Of course, a pocket is the most natural way to hold a phone while running, or doing anything else. If your workout gear doesn’t have pockets, consider:
- Leggings with phone pockets, like these for women
or these for men
- Workout shirts with phone pockets, like these for women
or these for men
- Sports bra with phone pocket (sorry guys) like this one:
As a rule, even though you can get athletic socks with pockets, the pockets are too small for phones. But if you have a small phone, you may want to see if socks with pockets are a good option for you.
If you already have the perfect workout wardrobe, and don’t want to change what works for you, consider adding a phone pocket to an existing garment. You can get premade pockets ready for sewing into any clothing
or even iron-on pockets that are simple as can be.
Water Bottle with Phone Holder
If you are a runner who needs to stay hydrated, you may already be carrying water with you while you train. If you are already carrying a water bottle, it’s easy as can be to add a cell phone holder and carry them together. While this isn’t optimal from an ergonomic perspective, maintaining hydration is incredibly important.
Water Bottle With Phone Holder Pros
- Super convenient to carry all the essentials together
- Easy way to stay hydrated while running
Water Bottle With Phone Holder Cons
- Creates asymmetrical weight on the body
- Water in the bottle moves with your stride, altering your gait and weight distribution, and may strain arms and shoulders
The CamelBak Quick Grip Chill Handheld Water Bottle combines a 21 oz water bottle that keeps water cold for twice as long, with a zippered grip and pocket that holds a phone, cards, keys, and other essentials.
The bottle has a valve that seals shut to prevent leaks, and technology that keeps your water tasting fresh and clean. The zippered pocket stretches to fit most phones and keeps belongings secure, with a non-slip, comfortable grip. It also has reflective surface for night-time visibility, and a convenient key clip.
The truth is, each of these methods of carrying a phone while running will work well for some people, and not well for others. The best way to carry a phone depends on your body, your workout, and your expectations, and there is no perfect solution.
However, for runners who need to keep their phones with them, there are a lot of options, and more new choices all the time. Although you may need to try a couple of solutions to find what works best for you, it’s worth doing just to get your phone out of your hands during a run.