I’m a headphone runner.
It doesn’t matter whether I am running on the trails, roads or the treadmill. I strongly prefer to have music or podcasts playing while I am on the go.
I keep the volume low for safety reasons, but perform better when listening to anything from Eminem to Metallica to various running and fitness podcasts.
I’ve experimented with several brands of earbuds, some good (Yurbuds — decent headphones with acceptable customer service) and some poor (Urbanears — low-quality headphones with even poorer customer service).
More recently, I have tested the Jabra Sport Pace on nearly 400 miles of running and found it provides decent sound, acceptable battery life and is overall the best fit for me.
Overall look and feel
The Jabra Sport Pace is sweat- and moisture-resistant with an in-canal design and cable that fits comfortably behind the neck. It comes in black with either a red, blue or yellow cable.
The fit is secure, thanks to the over-the-ear loops and a cable management clip. The cable falls harmlessly behind the user’s neck, even during the most challenging runs.
On the user’s right side, three buttons and a mic can be found on the cable. The central button controls playback and call management. It also redials whoever you last spoke with when you double-tap it.
A great feature is the volume up and down buttons that work in conjunction with your mobile device’s volume levels. If you double tap those same buttons, it will move your music track forward or backward. That can be handy for music, but it is an annoyance for podcasts.
How to use the Jabra
Jabra makes a variety of Bluetooth options — there are different options for endurance athletes as well as headset options for office workers.
Not only is the Jabra Sport Pace comfortable to wear, it literally never falls out. In all my hours of running with the Jabras, I have never had an issue with the earbuds falling out. The Jabra Sport Pace is an excellent product and is built to meet U.S. military standards to resist rain, dust, sand and more.
The first-time set-up for the Sport Pace took almost no time at all. Connecting the Bluetooth was simple. And for those unfamiliar with how to do so, Jabra provides a printed instruction manual plus a helpful resource online that can walk a user through any questions or issues that might arise.
Personally, I found the online resources about “use” the most helpful to me. This section of videos helped me understand various tasks — turning the device on and off, answering a call and adjusting the volume.
Even though I haven’t used it yet, Jabra also has a fitness app that can collect and store exercise data, count calories and more.
The Sport Pace comes with its own USB charging cable, which connects to a small covered port on the left ear.
The Sport Pace is easy to charge. Just attaching it to your laptop for 15 minutes as you prepare to go out for a run will give you an hour’s worth of listening time. It will take two hours to fully charge the battery, which Jabra says will last five hours. I have used it for over four hours straight without an issue.
However, I have noticed that the device seems to indicate “medium” and “low” battery life earlier than you would think. For example, on a recent run with a fully charged Jabra, I heard the “battery medium” warning roughly an hour into my run. Fortunately, it lasted the full two hours of my run.
To be sure, Jabra makes these earbuds for the endurance athlete. They are engineered to stay locked in place while the user scurries up a hill, sprints down the street or does whatever. They are not designed to be of the highest sound quality.
In fact, they have a boosted bass level — most likely to keep the user pumped up through the workouts. If that is what you are looking for, then this is right for you. I have found the audio quality to be acceptable for my needs.
However, if you are looking for a higher-quality device not necessarily for endurance running, then some higher-performing earphones would likely fit your needs better. Likewise, the emphasis on the bass might be a turnoff for sound purists.
The only concern I had in going to a Bluetooth device was how I would be able to carry my phone. On long training runs and races, I would wear a backpack that would also carry my phone so that was easily solved.
But for the majority of my runs, I would not need to carry a backpack, nor would I be on a treadmill where my phone could sit. Luckily, I discovered and bought some shorts that have a built-in pocket just for phones. Problem solved.
For runners like me who want earbuds that will stay put, regardless of conditions, and produce fine audio, the Jabra Sport Pace is a good solution.
Don’t forget to check out our comparative test of bluetooth running headphones!