Running throughout the year is achievable in most parts of the country if you have the proper gear. The waterproof Columbia Outdry Ex Caldorado Shell is a step in the right direction. The name may be a mouthful, but the jacket delivers with excellent breathability while being completely waterproof. (Water-resistant jackets are OK in a pinch, but on longer runs they aren't able to keep out the hard stuff.) The problem with most waterproof jackets is that they can't release the heat fast enough. But Columbia's Caldorado has long vents on the side to help move that air away from your body as you run.
The other knock on waterproof jackets is the feel against the skin. Columbia has improved that drastically with its Outdry Extreme technology, which uses a waterproof membrane on the outside with a soft, wicking fabric on the inside. The result is a very lightweight jacket (only 6.4 ounces) that remains comfortable to wear. It can be packed snuggly into the chest pocket, making it a great option for camping and hiking trips when you want to be prepared for rain. It's a technical piece, and it looks it. Non-runners may balk at the aggressive design. But when it's pouring down rain, staying dry is what matters, and this jacket delivers the goods.