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Tips for Winter Running on the Wet, West Coast

By October 30, 2015May 26th, 2017Moments


We recently wrote about, family caregiver burnout, which has been identified by the provincial government as a major challenge for families in British Columbia.

According to a BC government report, nearly a third of unpaid family caregivers are stressed out to the point of breakdown due to serious gaps in seniors respite programs.

Many of these caregivers experiencing burnout are women who must balance the needs of their own careers and young families with looking after aged or infirm loved ones.

Quality of life and health of the caregiver herself suffer due to burnout.

Exercise: One Way to Combat Caregiver Burnout

The good news is there are strategies to address and ward off caregiver burnout. It’s important to ask for help. In fact, just a few hours of home care can make a world of difference.

Taking time to exercise also helps avoid caregiver burnout. The challenge living in the Lower Mainland is winter days are typically dark and wet. It can be tough to even get out of bed on a dark, rainy day in mid-winter, let alone lace up a pair of running shoes.

However, staying healthy is a year-round pursuit, and there is no off-season.

The Practical Health Effects of Jogging

Despite our damp climate, jogging is one of the most popular pastimes in the Lower Mainland. Our beautiful region is home to many running and jogging trails, and there’s an entire wilderness to the north of us, stretching from the slopes of Grouse Mountain to Whistler and beyond.

Besides being able to appreciate the wonderful natural environment that surrounds us, jogging has a number of practical health benefits:

Relieve Stress

The act of exercising and moving around helps relieve stress. Exercise triggers a release of feel-good endorphins that lightens the mood. Exercise can also serve as a form of meditation, allowing us to think about and potentially work out the solution to problems.

Build Up Stronger Bones

As women age they tend to lose bone density, leading to frailty and loss of mobility later in life. By encouraging bone growth and the maintenance of bone mass, jogging is an effective way to ward off the effects of aging.

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Physical activity not only burns calories, it can also affect your body’s metabolism. This can result in a cascade of feedback within the body which will helps you lose and maintain weight loss.

Some Things to Keep in Mind…

Jogging is not for everyone, so be sure to consult with your physician before you lace up your running shoes.

If you have been sedentary for a long time it can take a while to build up the muscle and strength needed to take up jogging. If you try too hard at first you may end up injuring yourself.

5 Places to Go for a Run in the Lower Mainland

1. Jericho Beach to Spanish Banks

This popular low-impact 5K route offers the best of both the park and the beach, with atmospheric views in mid-winter of False Creek and the North Shore. Best of all, there are plenty of cozy coffee shops close by where you can relax after your run. Read more.

2. Ambleside Seawall

While the Stanley Park seawall is one of the most magnificent urban running courses in North America, it can get awfully crowded even during Vancouver’s rainy winter. The Ambleside seawall is an often-overlooked alternative. This 5km run located in West Vancouver is in many ways the heart and soul of the North Shore. Learn more.

3. Trout Lake Park

Trout Lake is one of the most beloved local green spaces of East Vancouver. Located just a short walk from the Commercial Skytrain station, this park offers low impact jogging trails with beautiful views of Trout Lake and the North Shore mountains. Trout Lake is perfect for the runner looking for a spot for a quick morning jog when it can be hard to get out of bed in the winter. Learn more.

4. Iona Beach Park

Located about a 35 minute drive from downtown Vancouver, this Richmond seaside route on a spit of land stretching out into the Fraser River Delta boasts beautiful views of the ocean and the University of British Columbia. Learn more.

5. Crescent Beach

While the beaches and beauty of the South Surrey and Semiahmoo region is popular with people all over the Lower Mainland and offers some great places to run in the winter, it does mean parking can be at a premium. Travel up to Crescent Beach just to the north, and you’ll have the beach almost all to yourself. Here’s an easy 5k loop along the beachfront of Crescent Beach. Learn more.

Please Take Note!

Some precautions to take when running in the winter:

  • When you’re travelling as a pedestrian, it’s important to be visible to drivers, especially this time of year when the sun goes down early.
  • Wearing bright colours and reflective clothing will make it easier for drivers to see you.
  • Be extra cautious when crossing the street during bad weather in case drivers have difficulty stopping.

Resources for Runners in the Lower Mainland

The City of Vancouver offers run clinics and can also help introduce you to a running group. Peninsula Runners, based in Surrey in the heart of the Lower Mainland, provides information about running events and run clinics.

They have also compiled a number of useful links for runners. MapMyRun provides suggestions about runs all over the Lower Mainland, and includes information such as length and elevation.

Here’s a map of 20 runs around White Rock. RunGuides offers a list of five must-run 5k’s around Vancouver. For more experienced runners, Vancouver Trails is a local online community devoted to local hikes and trails. Runners often leave comments to share details about runs and hikes, while novices can ask questions about trail location and difficulty.

Photo image courtesy Flickr user antony_mayfield. Shared under CC BY 2.0