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Worn out


June 2013

Training day or race day, you can’t perform at your best if your gear is shot. So before you head out on the road, make sure your equipment hasn’t already seen too many miles.

Don’t Go Flat

Bicycle tires should be replaced every five years or so due to cracking and drying of the rubber, says Chris Kegel, president and owner of Wheel & Sprocket bike shops.

The weight and quality of a tire will contribute to its lifespan. Road tires usually last 1,500 to 3,000 miles; hybrid tires will take you about twice as far. But, notes Kegel, "old tires get a lot more flats than new."

Don’t forget: Check your tires for any glass caught in the tread, and always bring tools, pump and a spare tube.

Running on Empty

Running shoes have a lifespan of 300 to 500 miles — less if you’re wearing a lighter weight "natural" shoe, according to Jessica Hoepner, owner of Performance Running Outfitters. For most people, that means a new pair of kicks every six to 12 months to reduce the likelihood of injury.

Some runners are just hard on their shoes. "Inefficient running form such as excessive heel striking, a low cadence or shuffling can cause a shoe to wear out more quickly," Hoepner notes. Even running outdoors is harder on shoes than treadmill training. Either way, though, the shoe’s cushioning takes a beating.

Don’t forget: Watch for your shoes’ tread to flatten out and notice when your shoes have lost their "spring."

Support Sense

Sports bras get less (ahem) supportive over time — in as little as six to eight months, says Joelle Michaeloff, a lead designer for lululemon athletica, which has a store in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. A bra should be comfortably snug and not chafe.

"Sweat can degrade the fabric," notes Rebecca Zach, a salesperson and cycling instructor at Attitude Sports in Pewaukee. Watch for breakdown of the fabric and seams, dried-out elastic or see-through spandex.

Don’t forget: Baby your bras by washing on the gentle cycle (or hand-washing) and line drying.


This story ran in the June 2013 issue of: