Trail running in the rain on the west coast

Why you should get off the couch and run in the rain

As a runner who lives in Vancouver, I end up running in the rain. A lot. I’ve run in cold rain that pelts my face like small, soggy daggers, walls of mist that somehow soak me completely, and sideways rain that efficiently drenches me on both sides during out-and-backs.

But there’s more to running in the rain than just getting wet. Once, when a soft drizzle turned into a crazy downpour, I took shelter under a bridge to wait out the worst of it. As I stood there wringing out my shirt, two other runners ducked under the bridge too. The three of us quietly hung out and smiled at the situation, steam floating off our bodies, until the deluge let up and we zipped off one by one.

That little moment of silent runner camaraderie has stuck with me for years, so chalk up “everyone becomes your run buddy” as one of the rad things that happen when you run in the rain. Here are a few more reasons to lace up and head outside, even if the weather isn’t perfect:

You feel kind of awesome

Two runners smiling for the camera in a race

MEC Ambassador Jim Willett says, “Running in the rain is a combination of feeling badass and feeling like Forrest Gump. The worst part about it is actually going out when it’s already raining – most people won’t. But if you’re out running and it starts raining, you’ll totally enjoy it.” One trick to heading out when it’s already raining? Momentum: if you put your shoes on and just keep moving towards the door, you’ll be 10 minutes into a rainy run before you know it.

Everything’s so fresh and so green

Things smell fresher in the rain, especially if you’re on the trails. Trees, rocks and dirt all seem to intensify in wonderful earthiness.

Plenty of elbow room

Solo runner with no crowds around

With the exception of determined tourists and dog walkers, most people stay inside when it rains. That means you have usually-busy run routes to yourself. This is also great if you have run-karaoke tendencies (a waterproof case is key to keeping the music flowing).

Zero overheating

A little rain beats running in 25°C anytime (especially if you’re someone who dreads hot summer days). Jim says, “On a warm day, it’s the best feeling in the world – it’s refreshing and keeps your core temperature down.”

No gritty salt build-up

Ever get little pools of dried white salt crystals on your face during long summer runs? It’s all washed clean on long runs in the rain.

Good practice for race days

MEC race in the rain

Fact: it might rain on race day. Now’s the time to learn that you can control some things – like your sock choice or banana intake – but you can’t control the weather. Consider it good practice to run in the rain when you’re training for your next race.

#rainbow

Instagrammers and run bloggers: a rainbow is like a pot of running gold. Double-taps galore.

Puddles

Runner on stairs tying their shoes

If you’re running on the road, rain and puddles give your shoes a natural bath (so clean!). If you’re running on the trails, dirt and puddles mean the opposite (so muddy!), which is fun in a whole different way. Wear your darkest run socks.

And the best part?

After a rainy run, there’s nothing like peeling off your heavy, soaked layers and hopping in a steamy shower. Combine that feeling with a coffee, your coziest fleece socks, and the satisfaction of ticking another run off your list, and you’re hitting maximum runner’s high. Nice work.

Karen Benson

Editor, trail runner, nature nerd. Lauded for leading cheer squads everywhere, she’s also an outspoken advocate for eating burritos daily.