We live in a rain forest, on the wet coast of Canada…so yeah we get to spend some quality time running around in the rain. Wet weather is actually pretty easy to deal with compared to the ice we saw last winter. We tend to be fairly waterproof as a species although running around in our waterproof birthday suits isn’t going to go over too well with the neighbours. Protection from the elements is what we tend to look for and there are some simple things we can all do to make running in the rain a little more enjoyable. Get the right gear and have enough of it. That sounds like a sales pitch but really it isn’t much more than what you already have, just maybe some things you didn’t think about using for running.
Why do we feel so much colder when we are wet and at rest? Heat is constantly trying to escape our bodies and even more so when we are out running. While we are moving and expelling the heat we are fine, but once we slow down we’ll likely feel that chill that seems to penetrate right to our bones. This is conductive heat loss. The difference is that we have moisture connecting the outside environment and our skin. This connection robs our bodies of heat 32 times faster than convective heat loss, thus making us feel much colder than we really are and putting us at risk of hypothermia if we don’t get dry or start moving again soon.
This means we need to think about the layers we wear and how they work. The clothing touching your skin should be designed to functionally move or displace moisture on your skin. Synthetic fabrics displace moisture while wool and cotton absorb moisture. Cotton would dramatically increase the conductive heat loss so it should not be used meanwhile wool retains the ability to insulate even when wet so it makes a good layer for winter runs. Jackets that keep you dry obviously are helpful until they “wet out” which is when the exterior fabric becomes saturated and no longer forces the rain to bead off the surface. This is when you’ll start to feel the effects of conductive heat loss as you have a connection of moisture from your skin to the outside. Taking good care of your jacket with regular washing and application of water-repellent sprays will help keep this at bay or invest in the latest technology from Arcteryx in the Norvan SL jacket with it’s “shake dry” goretex membrane. This jacket has proven to be the best at keep runners dry for hours with maximum breathability.
We have several jackets in stock at both locations so stop by and check them out.