How to wash your Lycra athletic gear

How to wash your Lycra athletic gear

How to wash Lycra

Photo Courtesy of Instagram

You spent a lot of money on that fancy running gear that “wicks” sweat or keeps you warm, even when it’s raining and 40 degrees.  The tags say “Handle with Care”  What exactly does that mean? Today’s exercise clothes like running shorts, shirts, pants and Compression Socks are often made of material called Lycra®.  For those of us who were around in the 1980s, you may remember some “rockers” wearing Spandex.  This is the generic Lycra® version. Lycra® is a brand name trademarked by DuPont.

After your workout

As much as we hate it, we’re all drenched in sweat after a good workout, which means our clothes are, too. If you don’t have time to wash your clothes right after your workout, or you’re too tired like me, then hang dry your workout clothes, making sure there are no wrinkle or overlaps. This prevents your gear from turning into a mildew breeding ground. It also helps prevent bad smells from staying trapped inside your clothes.

How to get the stink out

The best method for to care for soiled workout clothes is to give them a prewash. Soak your Lycra® outfits in one part vinegar, and four parts water for at least 30 minutes before hand washing, or putting them into the washing machine. Ensure that you rinse your clothes thoroughly before washing them to get rid of the vinegar.

Some Don’ts to Remember

Do not mix vinegar and bleach ever! If your detergent contains bleach rinse out your vinegar soaked clothes before throwing them in the washer. Do not use vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washer if your detergent contains bleach.

Do not use heat for any of your Lycra® garments. This is really important.  READ THE LABEL BEFORE PUTTING ANYTHING IN THE DRYER.  Heat will destroy the elastic properties of the Lycra® fibers in your outfits.  Just avoid the dryer, ironing and the sun. Remember: Heat is bad for Lycra.

Do not use chlorine or bleach. This will destroy the fibers of the fabric and you will get “bag and sag” syndrome.

Do not use Fabric Softener. These are used to soften clothes and will ensure your expensive garment will never again retain its shape.

Wash Lycra in your machine 

Although it is said that hand washing is always the way to go, most of us don’t have time for that. Don’t worry! It’s okay for your Lycra® garments to go into the washing machine, but ensure that you follow these steps.

  • First, make sure that all of your zippered garments are zipped all the way up.  This helps prevent the zipper track from snagging onto other fabric during the washing cycle.
  • Turn your clothes inside out.
  • Put delicate items into a mesh laundry bag, lingerie bag, or pillowcase to protect them.  I strongly recommend this for something like Bib Shorts.

Washing machine set-up

If you are worried that a pre-soak won’t get all the smells out, then simply put some vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. This will ensure your washer dispenses the vinegar in the rinse cycle. Always use cold water when washing your Lycra® garments. Don’t forget, heat will destroy them. Also, always set your washer to “Delicates” setting.  This helps to prevent damage of your clothes.

Less is actually more?

Use less detergent than you would for regular washing, when you care for Lycra® clothing.  Although detergent cleans your clothes, it can leave a build up on your clothes if you use too much. A build up of detergent will trap in dead skin cells and trap bacteria into the fabric. If you want to make sure your clothes last, try a detergent designed for washing workout clothes.  You can find this type of detergent at most running stores.

Finishing The wash

After the washing cycle has been finished, hang your clothes up, or lay them down flat to dry. Never put them in the dryer and try hard not to put them in the blazing Sun.  Lycra® is a fast drying fiber, so your clothes should not take too long to air dry.

This article was contributed by SLS Compression and Triathlon Gear.  No samples were provided.

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Why I switched from Garmin to Polar M400

Why I switched from Garmin to Polar M400

Polar M400


Middleagemarathoner.com may earn affiliate commissions from the shopping links included on this page. These commissions do not affect how we test, rate or review products. To find out more, read our complete terms of use. The sample for this review was provided by Polar.


I’ve been training for the Portland Marathon with the Polar M400 GPS Running Watch for the last 7 weeks.  For the last 6 years, I have been using the Garmin 110 Forerunner.  In this article, I will discuss the features of the M400 that I have put to test, how they have significantly improved my training and why I’m switching to the M400 from Garmin.

The 110 is Garmin’s older base model. It’s a good watch and has served me well with basic distance and time tracking of my runs. I’ve also used Garmin’s heart rate sensor and monitor features, but I often have challenges syncing the watch and the heart rate sensor.

I started testing my M400 at the beginning of August. It was a little challenging to set-up and sync with the (Polar Flow) iPhone app, but by following the directions very carefully, I was able to load all my personal information (age, weight, running goals, etc) and complete the set-up so I could take advantage of the benefits of the watch and Polar Flow (the online 24/7 activity, training and sleep tracking web service that is also an app for iPhone and Andriod).  Downloading the app allows Bluetooth sync between the M400 and your mobile phone. Not only can I see workout details on my phone, but now I can see incoming texts and alerts on my watch (similar to the Apple Watch).

M400’s Amazing Technology

Once the set-up was complete and I started to use the watch, l felt like I had moved into the “21st Century” from the “Dark Ages” compared to what I was used to with my Garmin 110. I’m very impressed with the technology that Polar packs into this watch. It’s easy to instantly sync workouts to Polar Flow via Bluetooth to my iPhone.  This allows me to instantly see all the details of my workouts.

Polar Flow iPhone App

Following are a couple of screen shots of my watch and the Polar Flow iPhone app with workout details.  As you can see, basics of the workout are covered.  I didn’t wear my heart rate sensor with this particular workout.

polar-flow

Polar Flow Workout Stats

Polar M400

Map of Run

polar-flow5

Splits & Ave Heart Rate

Although I have not had the time to use all the features offered with the M400 GPS watch, I can assure you that this watch does far more than simply track your pace and distance.  It tracks steps, daily calories burned and your sleep at night. The watch is very smart. In fact, it knows when it isn’t being worn, when you are sitting, standing, walking, jogging or resting.

Heart Rate Sensor & Monitoring

When coupled with a heart rate sensor, the M400 is a heart rate monitor.  I really like this feature, I not only use heart rate zones during my training, but I rely on my heart rate monitor during the later stages of marathon training to keep me from overtraining.  One of the signs of overtraining is an inability to elevate your heart rate even though you may feel tired and unable to run much faster.  Although, there are many other signs of overtraining, this is the one I use where a heart rate monitor is essential.  The M400 shows your heart rate in big bold easy to read numbers. The watch can also verify which heart rate zone you’re in at any time during your run.  The benefit is that it provides a more accurate account of your effort level.

In my article about training with a heart rate monitor, I discuss these zones and how you can incorporate zone training into your workouts (3-5 are the most common zones that I run in).

You can get additional in depth information about Running heart rate zones by visiting the Polar Website.

Polar M400

Polar Flow Heart Rate Monitor

Cadence

Understanding your running cadence (steps per minute) and increasing it if necessary, can help you improve your running efficiency.  If you’re overstriding (low cadence) you may be at increased risk of injury. Measuring your cadence is easy with the Polar watch and increasing accordingly, can reduce muscle damage caused by overstriding.

Your height, weight, leg and stride length and running ability will determine your optimal cadence. Everyday runners generally fall between 160-170 steps per minute.  With the M400, just multiply the average cadence shown on the watch by 2.

Polar GPS watch review

Average & Max Cadence

Recharging the M400

Instead of using an awkward clip with wire/pin connectors like Garmin, the M400 has a small rubber flap on the back of the watch that covers a micro USB port. I used to have problems with my clip making a connection, so charging through this port is a great feature. The micro USB port and M400 watch is waterproof (up to 30 meters).  This is perfect if you’re training for or running in a triathlon so you can swim with your watch on.

Overall, I found that the buttons are easy to press and large enough to engage while running or other types of exercise. On the right side, the up, enter, and down buttons help you scroll through features such as your diary of activity, personal settings and even a fitness test. On the left, there are the light and back buttons. Managing the M400 with these buttons does not take long to figure out.

The Polar M400 gives you a considerable amount of information during and after you have completed your run.  Below you can see the details of my heart rate and the amount of time I was running in a particular heart rate zone.

Heart Rate Zone Training

Ave Heart Rate

Polar Heart Rate Zones

Time Spent in each HR Zone

You can view the start time, duration, distance, calories burned, fat burn percentage of calories, average pace, max pace, max altitude, ascent, descent, auto lap times, best lap time and average lap time. It will also keep track of your personal records and will notify you after you complete your longest and fastest runs.

Memory of Activity & Battery Life

The M400 can store up to 30 hours of past runs on its internal storage. All of this information can also be uploaded to Polar’s website. I really like how it’s easy to access details of previous workouts right on my watch.  Following images show the workouts for a particular week that have been tracked.  As you can see, I can easily scroll to any day and then click on it to view workout details.

Polar Flow Training Info

Diary of Completed Workouts

M400 review

Average Pace

 

I like the M400’s battery life. I run and use the GPS daily, but I found that the M400 goes 3-4 days before requiring a recharge. If you’re not using the GPS, Polar claims up to 10 days before a recharge is required. I found that my watch required juice the more often that I used the GPS.

Overall, the big selling point of the Polar M400 is that it’s not just a GPS enabled watch for running, but that it can be used to track other outdoor activities, like cycling and hiking. The Polar Flow is an amazing dashboard where I can track all of my personal results and progress towards my goals.  There’s also multiple tabs which can connect you to a vast Community of other Polar watch users around the world, a Program tab which can generates an individualized training plan for 5k, 10k, ½ and full marathons and the Feed tab which shows you details of all of your activities.

 

Polar Flow Training Suite

Polar Flow Feed Dashboard

The coolest feature on the Feed tab is the “relive” button. You can get a view of the sites of your workout and the times/pace of various intervals.  It literally helps you relive the experience of your run or race.

M400 GPS Watch Review

Polar Flow Relive Workout Feature

I plan on reviewing the Polar Flow web service in much more detail in subsequent posts.

For me, the M400 is a great tool to effectively track both my indoor and outdoor activities. I highly recommend this GPS enabled watch, the heart rate sensor and the Polar Flow website and iPhone app to not only track your training, but all daily activities.

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Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Tracks run distances by GPS
  • Water and sweatproof to 30 meters
  • Heart rate and daily fitness (distance + pace data)
  • Large numbers on easy to read screen while you’re running.
  • Polar Flow iPhone app and web portal with dashboard and suite

Cons:

  • A little challenging to initially set up and sync with your iPhone. Just follow directions very carefully and it will work.
  • Slow sync’ing if completed via Bluetooth to your mobile phone.
  • Uncomfortable to wear at night (not really a huge deal for me because I’ve never worn a watch to bed).

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Polar Electro Running Store Specials


We have established an affiliate partnership with Polar Electro.   They are a leading manufacturer of devices for athletes to track and monitor their performances. Polar frequently offers specials on their wide variety of heart rate monitors, fitness trackers and heart straps. Take a look below to see the latest discounts that are being offered.  In addition to their excellent products, the Polar Electro website is an excellent resource for training advice.

Please note that most of these specials are offered for a limited time.  You can apply the codes when you shop at our GPS Watches and Heart Rate Monitor Store or click the links below.

**This post contains affiliate links. You will not pay any more for making a purchase through these links, but I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.  This is one of the ways I can pay for this website and continue to bring you great content about long distance running, health and fitness. 


Polar’s Best Sellers


Polar A360 Fitness Tracker, Black Large – $199.95

Polar A360 goes beyond daily activity tracking to provide the guidance and motivation you need to meet your fitness goals. It’s the only fitness tracker that combines a seamless waterproof design with a color touchscreen display, accurate Polar wrist-based heart rate guidance, vibrating smart notifications and more.

Polar A300 Fitness and Activity Watch with Heart Rate, White – $139.95

Reach your fitness goals with the A300. A300 fitness watches track your workout intensity and heart rate zones, steps, calories, activity, sleep duration and sleep quality. Suitable for swimming. Includes Polar H7 heart rate sensor for heart rate zone tracking. Ideal for swimming, gym, running, walking, activity tracking and more.

Polar M400 GPS Running Watch with Heart Rate, Pink – $229.95

M400 Running GPS watch is an exceptional blend of sporty design, integrated GPS and advanced training features, along with plenty of options to keep an eye on your activity 24/7. Compatible with Polar H7 heart rate sensor for accurate heart rate intensity and zone tracking. Tracks speed, distance, route, intervals and more. Ideal for runners of all levels.

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Avon 39 – Walk To End Breast Cancer

Avon 39 Breast Cancer

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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Almost everyone knows someone who has either survived breast cancer and/or been overcome by this horrible disease.

My family has known a few families where young children are forced to grow up without their mother due to Breast Cancer.

Reebok has generously committed to donate a minimum of $350,000 to AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer.  This 2 day 39.3 mile walk is conducted in 7 cities across the country, starting this weekend (April 23/24) in Houston.  AVON 39 helps fund research, awareness, and education while providing assistance for families currently battling breast cancer.

Even if you can’t make an event, you can contribute with a direct donation or you can shop the Reebok AVON 39 Collection.

Reebok Running - Breast Cancer Support

Reebok AVON 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer – Shop Now

A portion of Pink Ribbon product sales will be donated in support of cancer care and research. When you wear your Pink Ribbon attire, you’ll be showing your support for this wonderful cause.

 

Thanks for your support.  Please forward this post to a friend if you can.  It’s a good cause and the Pink Ribbon products look sharp.

 

 

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Reebok ZPrint Train Solves Multiple Problems

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This doesn’t change your price.

Reebok ZPrint TrainThe Reebok ZPrint Train and Run shoes are a problem solver. These days, the latest running and training shoes are so expensive.  If you want to support a “brick and mortar” store and buy your shoes locally, what options do you have?

The team at Reebok is definitely trying to help. Recently they have offered numerous shoes under the $100 price point.  Their latest offerings are the ZPrint Train and Run shoes. These shoes provide a customized fit that comes with their advanced 3D foot scan engineered cushioning.  Reebok is promoting these shoes as the latest in their line of flex groove technology footwear.  If you’re seeking a light weight, comfortable and affordable shoe, then you should consider the ZPrint. I recently picked up a pair of the “Train” models, at a very affordable $79.98.  I put them through a week of training and wanted to share my observations.

Reebok ZPrint

I found the ZPrint to be a really comfortable shoe with a mesh upper for better breathability and a lightweight, but cushioned fit that molded to my foot, unlike my Asics stability shoes (which I really like and have helped me remain injury free for the last 3+ years).  These shoes fit like a nice comfortable glove.

New Nano 6.0 now available at Reebok.com!

How To Stay Injury Free During Your Training

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Lightweight at approximately 9 oz, 2 oz less than my Asics.

The ZPrint is made for the road or track. It provides traction on hard and even surfaces.  I wouldn’t recommend this for trails or gravel because of it’s lack of stability. Reebok ZPrint is probably average as far it’s durability. Its upper uses Reebok’s NanoWeb technology, which offers long lasting support. I think the mesh will be resilient enugh to ensure fit after at least 2-300 hundred miles.  Unless you’re a neutral runner, who doesn’t need much stability, I wouldn’t recommend these shoes for long runs.  Instead, I found they were best for my cross-fit workouts.  Which will ultimately save me the wear and tear on my long distance trainers.

ZPrint Train for CrossFit

The ZPrint also suitable for speed workouts because of its lightweight and flexible platform. However, because of my need for a more stable shoe with heel support, if I were to use this shoe to take advantage it’s lightweight benefits, I would need to land more on my forefoot in order to prevent injury. I wouldn’t recommend this shoe for racing, unless you’re a neutral runner. Overall, I intend to mostly use ZPrints for cross training and casual purposes.  If you’re going to wear these shoes for training runs (5-6 miles), my recommendation is to alternate the ZPrint with other more stable shoes. This way you will still get a lot of use out of them and your other trainers will last longer.

Pros: Price, weight and comfort  are excellent.  The ZPrint is a perfect CrossFit shoe.  It’s also an excellent casual shoe.

Cons: I’m concerned about the shoe’s lack of stability for runners like myself that pronate and require a stable heel cup.

How to Find Out More and Get Your Own Pair of Reebok ZPrint Train or Run

You can learn more about the Reebok ZPrint shoes at Reebok.com.  They comes in sizes and styles for men, women, boys, and girls. These shoes are available at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, Famous Footwear and some specialty running shoe stores. You can follow this link to find other Reebok store locations.

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Treadmill Training & Buying Guide

Marathon Training on a treadmill

I travel almost every week for my “day” job.  In order to complete either 600am or 900pm workouts I have to accept that I must use the hotel’s gym to continue my marathon training.  Fortunately, I’m not against using a treadmill.  Although I don’t find a treadmill to be very exciting, I can tolerate 30 – 45 minutes in front of a TV or listening to a podcast.  I like to add some weights or body weight exercises to my treadmill workouts to give myself a good workout.

Usually my treadmill workouts are gradually increasing the treadmill speed up to 7.5 – 8.0, so I can complete 4 – 5 miles within 30 – 40 minutes.  I also put the incline at 1.5 to 2.0.  I really should try to investigate and try some actual workouts into my routine.  These would be workouts where I very speed up to 9.0 and incline to 5+.  I’ll plan on doing that in subsequent posts.

I recently met with a gentleman from Canada who has developed separate videos for Chicago, Boston and New York marathons.  It’s a really cool concept.  Up to 2 hour long videos, shot in HD and accompanied by music.  I haven’t had a chance to watch any of the videos yet, but if they’re as good as my friend Derek says they are, you should check them out.  They are at www.treadflix.com

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I either have to learn to run in a lot of rain or run on the treadmill.  I’m fortunate to belong to  a local a gym, but on the days where I can’t find the time to run or get to the gym, I’m stuck.  If only I had a treadmill……..

If you’re considering purchasing a treadmill, I’ve worked with a friend to put together the following buying guide.

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The path to successfully running a long distance running event can be filled with ups and downs and there are going to be times when outside conditions, a work schedule, or some other inconvenience is going to mean that you can’t get a daylight training run in. Sure, you can go for a run after dark, but most people prefer to train in high visibility for safety reasons.

One fantastic investment you can make, budget permitting of course, is in a home treadmill. Treadmills can be a perfect addition to a home gym, or perfectly fine as a stand-alone piece of cardio equipment because they allow you 24-hour access for training. Of course though, treadmills come in all shapes and sizes and the price can vary greatly from model to model.

You don’t want to pay a large sum of money for a treadmill that just doesn’t suit your needs. It’s for this reason that a firm grasp of what to look for in a treadmill is important. To help you with your buying decision, here are 10 points to guide you in your treadmill purchase.

Size

Decide on where the treadmill will be placed within your home and measure it carefully. Keep in mind that most treadmills are heavy and once you place them in a given location, it is may be difficult to move it around too much. It should also have additional space on the sides and back for an easy dismount once you’re done with your workout.

Ergonomics

The treads on treadmills often vary in length. If you are tall or an experienced runner, you might want to look for a treadmill with a longer deck that can handle your stride.

Special Features

Treadmills have varying consoles for your vital signs, gadgets and connectivity. Some extra bells and whistles like iPad docks, USB ports or Wi-Fi connectivity are becoming a more prevalent as manufacturers add them to new models they roll out. The best thing to do is choose what features would help you maximize the workout you will be doing.

Treadmill Assembly

Since we have established that a treadmill has significant size and weight, you should check whether it would be fully assembled once delivered or will you need to put it together once it arrives. Treadmills can weigh over 100 kilos and with this in mind, assembly would definitely require more than a single person.

Maintenance

Good quality treadmills are often maintenance-free machines. The time spent maintaining the treadmill, such as lubrication, should be used in other important things and not with the machine. Some manufacturers have considered adding a reversible deck so that when one side is worn out, you can turn it over to a new deck.

Warranty

We have discussed earlier that when you are searching for a treadmill, you should make sure that it requires the least amount of maintenance possible. Even though this is so, a treadmill still contains electronic parts that may need some maintenance at some point and being a major investment, it would be best to know what warranty comes with the unit.

Apply the acronym R.U.N.

Review the price – Keep in mind your budget. Investing your money’s worth is important and there are a lot of great investments out there.

Understand your needs – are you going to use it for power walks or running? Look at the features offered by each unit and choose which one gives you the workout you need.

Never settle for less – the expensive cost of an item does not always equate to a good buy. Inspect the equipment carefully and try it out.

Incline

This feature increases the intensity of your training without the need to increase the speed of the treadmill. It is a good feature for building leg strength for runners. Some lower priced models have only 3 levels of manual incline while larger models can give up to 20 levels of electronic incline.

Speed Range

You can use your goals as a determining factor for your treadmill purchase. Treadmills for running will often have speed capacity two times that of walking treadmills. SO be sure to check the maximum speed capacity before buying.

Built-in Programs

Some treadmills have programs which assists in your training goals. The configurations of the training programs can vary from brand to brand. If you are the type of runner who wants to try out these programs, search for this under its specifications when you are browsing for a treadmill in the store or online.

Summary

Purchasing a treadmill can be a hefty investment and getting the best workout from what you’ve spent is the main goal. Take your time and do some research about the treadmill that you would like. This will help you acquire the right treadmill the first time.

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Good luck with your treadmill training.  Don’t forget that alternatives to treadmills include stationary bikes, eliptical, stair master and rowing machines.  I use all of these regularly to give my legs, ankles and knees a break from the pounding of running.  This is especially important during marathon training when my mileage is up to 50+ per week.

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