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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[Updated] Why I switched from Garmin to Polar M400

[Updated] Why I switched from Garmin to Polar M400

Polar M400

The following article is one of the most frequently visited posts on my site.  I am updating it (below) to discuss the Polar Running & coaching program. Polar offers plans with varied run lengths, intervals and strength training with bodyweight exercises.  Although I also offer custom plans & personalized coaching, I think the Polar program is a viable FREE alternative to help athletes reach their goals. 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 Heart Rate Monitor 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.

biggest running challenge
I started testing my Polar 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).


First 30 Days - How To Jump Start Your Training

Proven Strategies To Transform You Into A Strong, Confident Marathoner – On Sale Now

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 Workout Stats

Polar M400 Map of Run


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 Polar M430 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.

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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 Flow Heart Rate Monitor


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 Polar M430, 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.

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Polar Running Programs

Polar also offers running training programs for 5K – Marathon (9 – 14 week programs). In order to get started, you simply enter the length of race, date of the race, and when you want to start the training program. You can also personalize the program a bit by selecting the number of days per week that you can train (nice for busy people).  You can also select how long you want each training session to be and the desired intensity of your activity.  The problem with this is that if you’re not certain what intensity you should be training, you might fall short of your goal. However, in the end, Polar uses all of the information you input to create your custom program for you.

One really cool feature of this program is that if you put together the program far enough in advance of your race, you will actually get a longer base building period. Polar then provides updated training recommendations every four weeks. The training program is synced to your Polar watch so you can continue training.

Summary of Review

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 GPS Running Watch 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 Polar 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.

Need a training partner? Workout Smarter & Track Your Progress with the Polar M400. You can find your new training partner today. 

If you really like the features of Garmin Forerunner 25 (Large), I understand. Garmin makes quality watches and they stand behind them if you have issues.


  • 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


  • 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).


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.

**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.


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.


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.



Runner’s GPS Watches & Heart Rate Monitors

Using a GPS watch & Heart Rate Monitor are key to my training. Read the detailed article I wrote last year about how to incorporate a GPS watch and heart rate monitor into your marathon training.   I have used the Garmin Forerunner 110 & Polar M400 series GPS watches for the last 8 years.   Both of these brands work great, but I prefer Polar. You can read my detailed article and review of Polar watches vs. Garmin. For your convenience I’ve set up an Amazon store below to offer a variety of GPS watches.

DISCLOSUREThis is an affiliate ad supported website. This means that if you buy something from the following links or based on our recommendation, either expressed or implied, I may get paid an affiliate commission. This helps me to continue sharing some great information about long distance running.

Reebok Running Store – Men’s & Women’s Apparel

Besides the partnership with Adidas, I can now offer great savings on select Reebok running apparel. Training in comfortable running apparel is one of the keys to my success. Especially in the cold & wet Northwest. I have run in Reebok apparel and can confidently recommend the articles below. As you can see, I’ve divided the store into Men’s and Women’s apparel. If you can’t find your size or a style that you like, please let me know, I’m sure I search through available discounts and find exactly what you need.

DISCLOSUREThis is an affiliate ad supported website. This means that if you buy something from the following links or based on our recommendation, either expressed or implied, I may get paid an affiliate commission. This helps me to continue sharing some great information about long distance running.

Women’s Running Apparel:

  • Women's White Reebok V-Neck - S
  • Description:The great thing about fitness? No referees no losers and you make the rules. Never forget that with this statement-making slim fit v-neck.
  • Price: $16.99
  • Women's Yellow Reebok ONE Series Surfer Hoodie - M
  • Description:Designed with fitness and fashion in mind this ONE Series surfer hoodie is a premium find. The soft cotton hand feel and understated style keep things casual while the performance wicking technology and cooling mesh gussets ensure you're always ready f
  • Price: $60.00
  • Women's Black Reebok ONE Series Mock Long Sleeve Top - M
  • Description:Advancing the standard of everyday training apparel this eye-catching ONE Series top provides sweat-wicking comfort and a great range of motion. Rock this mock-cut silhouette on cold days or whenever you want less wind-resistance and more coverage.
  • Price: $55.00
  • Women's Dark Grey Heather Reebok ONE Series Shirt - M
  • Description:Pairing the soft feel of cotton with ONE Series performance this understated tee is a versatile favorite. Wear it for workouts or everyday style whenever you need to keep cool inside and out.
  • Price: $32.00
  • CrossFit Women's Teal Reebok Intensify II Short - "32""
  • Description:Freedom of movement leads the way in this short constructed of stretch polyester in front and a stretch cordura back. Featuring an antimicrobial and PlayDry inner brief for breathable comfort and a board short front closure and zippered storage pocket for
  • Price: $54.98
  • CrossFit Women's Teal Reebok Intensify II Short - "28""
  • Description:Freedom of movement leads the way in this short constructed of stretch polyester in front and a stretch cordura back. Featuring an antimicrobial and PlayDry inner brief for breathable comfort and a board short front closure and zippered storage pocket for
  • Price: $54.98

Men's Apparel

  • Men's Dark Green Reebok ONE Series Thermal Crew - M
  • Description:Warmth and mobility are top of mind in this heavier weight Reebok ONE Series base layer. Thanks to its insulative wicking technology and fashionable fitted design it will help keep you warm dry and on the move in style.
  • Price: $39.99
  • Men's Blue Reebok ONE Series Track Jacket - M
  • Description:Triumph on the track with this protective ONE Series outer layer. Built in a heavier weight single jersey blend it's specifically designed for wicking warmth and mobility so you can train outdoors in comfort and style.
  • Price: $59.99
  • Men's Blue The Reebok ONE Short- PW3R - XL
  • Description:Refresh your daily training gear with this lightweight ONE Series board short. The fly closure and leg graphic offer everyday style while the sweat-wicking stretch-friendly fabric proves that performance is (and will always be) king.
  • Price: $45.00
  • Men's Navy Reebok ONE Series Running Tight - L
  • Description:Run your race right in this supportive ONE Series running tight. Designed for high-endurance training it will help keep your legs warm and dry as you pound the pavement ahead.
  • Price: $49.99
  • Men's Black Run Short Sleeve Shirt - M
  • Description:If you think a tee is just a tee ask yourself if that ragged top you use for weekend dirty work comes with an ultra breathable neck-to-hem mesh panel at the back a media port at the shoulder seam and sweat-wicking PlayDry technology. Nope? Then it's t
  • Price: $30.00
  • Men's Black Running Essentials Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip - M
  • Description:Ever dressed for a cool morning jog only to overheat a few miles in? Try layering up with this essential long sleeve top instead. The adjustable front zip and underarm ventilation will help you feel refreshed while your muscles stay warm.
  • Price: $50.00