Train in the Rain
If you live in Vancouver you’re no stranger to rain.
Maybe you don’t even notice it.
I remember a few years ago there was media buzz over the number of consecutive days of rainfall in the city and my roommate had to point it out to me. She was from Calgary and couldn’t believe that I “just didn’t notice” that it had rained for over 20 days straight…
But just because I’m used to the rain doesn’t mean that I don’t glare out the window when it’s time to head out for my run in a total downpour. So here are my top tips for staying motivated as we head into the rainy season (aka. anything outside of July/August on the Wet Coast).
Tip #1: Wear a hat
I am embarrassed to admit that I only started wearing hats this past year. I don’t know how I survived running at UBC for four years without wearing one…I just always found hats annoying. Maybe I just didn’t have the right fit, but I felt like the brim was always blocking my vision, or the wind was blowing it off, or “what’s the point I am going to get soaked anyways.”
Spoiler alert: when you wear a hat the rain doesn’t constantly blow into your face/eyes and this is really nice.
Ciele hats available in-store.
Tip #2: Gortex shoes are not just “for wimps”
If you live in YVR you are going to get wet and that is a fact. I thought Gore-Tex shoes were for people who whine a lot and can’t tough it up and face the elements. I now realize the same argument could be applied to not wearing a rain jacket - or frankly, wearing shoes in general.
Gor-Tex shoes are the best. They are not just for people walking their dogs. They are life changing. Why would you not want to keep your feet dry??
Tip #3: Spend the money on a quality rain jacket
Quality costs, and you’re going to want a jacket that is breathable, light and protects you from the rain. I usually do tough workouts in water/wind resistant fabrics and sacrifice staying totally dry in exchange for lighter layers that don’t slow you down. But if I’m just going on a run - I want to keep dry in something serious.
Tip #4: Also spend money on gloves
My hands get super cold and the only thing worse than super cold hands are super cold WET hands. You can’t tie your shoes, you need help getting your keys, you are as sad and helpless as a cold wet baby. I recommend avoiding this feeling at all costs. If you are someone who loses gloves all the time don’t despair - lucky for you there are loads of cost effective options that will keep your hands warm and dry.
Tip #5: Friends/Music to keep you company
Have a group! Nothing keeps you accountable like knowing you are meeting people to run. If you are not already part of a club I highly recommend checking out The Oak St Runners - they are welcoming to all ages and abilities.
If you’re going solo, nothing motivates like a great song.
To stay safe, I’d encourage you to check out Aftershokz headphones as they enable you to hear surrounding noise - (you can read my full product review here.
Aftershokz headphones available in-store.
Tip: #6 Be visible and cautious
Most clothing brands have visibility strips sewn into the fabric—look for this when you’re shopping! Wearing lights and/or reflective products are also great ideas, and when in doubt always assume cars/bikes do not see you.
Tip #7: Bring Dry clothes
I think I should have made this tip #1.
If you’re leaving from home then disregard and jump in a hot shower as soon as you can. But if you’re meeting people to run or driving to a destination, BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES. Your future self will thank you. Even if you think “I’ll only be wet for 10 minutes, it’s not worth the hassle of packing a change of clothes," it is worth it. Trust me.
Mom - if you’re reading this aren’t you proud of me finally listening to this advice?
PS: No Mom, I still do not want to bring a “dry blanket,” there is a line.
Tip #8: Timing
The first 5 minutes will be the worst. Just accept that it will be awful. By minute 10 you will be warmed up, and then running in the rain is actually pretty fun! You feel like a badass, you don’t get super hot, and you’ll likely have more of the trails to yourself.
Set a time for yourself and then act like you are in the military. If you said you were going to start your run at 5:30 - do it. I suppose some people check the weather and try and pick the best times so you could totally do that - but once you’ve set a time lock in those lyrics.
In my experience the forecast lies, and it’s better to not use “waiting for the storm to pass” as a reason to delay. You could be waiting for over 20 days.
Be well, stay dry, and run happy!
Devan Wiebe is a track and field runner and Brooks Canada Ambassador. She has been with Rackets & Runners for four years and is incredibly proud to be supported by such a community-minded business. Devan shops at R&R for all her running needs and lives by the Brooks motto of “Run Happy.”
B/W photos courtesy of Andy White.