Routine Bike Maintenance

Routine Bike Maintenance

We all want our bikes to last us a lifetime, but we do have to give them a little love and attention to prolong their lifespan. Staring at your bike lovingly or tucking it into your bed at night may be tempting, but it won’t do much in making it last longer. Routine bike maintenance is the easiest way to ensure the financial and emotional investment you’ve put into your bike doesn’t go to waste.

Routine bike maintenance isn’t complicated, but it can take some dedication. When you’ve finished a long ride, you may want to just lean up your bike and go have a nap, but it’s better if you establish a post-ride routine that includes a little bit of TLC.

1. Keep it clean

It’s simple, but so important. Keeping your bike clean ensures your bike not only looks great, but also keeps all it’s part working flawlessly. Obviously you aren’t going to clean your bike meticulously after every ride, make sure you do whenever you ride in the rain or mud.

In addition to that, but put your bike on a regular cleaning schedule. At the very least clean it once per month. It obviously depends on how often you ride, but if you want to keep your bike in smooth working condition, once a month is a bare minimum. For some tips on how to clean your bike, check out “How To Clean Your Bike in 5 Minutes or Less.”

2. Lubrication and Grease

Make sure your bike is lubricated properly as it protects moving parts from excessive wear and tear (choose an appropriate lube for the riding conditions you’re in). On the other hand, make sure not to go nuts as too much lubrication will attract dirt and cause just as much damage. Allow the lube to soak in and then wipe any excess off with a clean rag.

Most importantly you want to lube the chain, but also all the other moving parts including brake and derailleur levers, and cables. You’ll also want to grease any threaded bolts such as the stem, derailleurs, and pedals. If you have any bearings apart, make they are all well greased.

3. Regularly Replace the Chain

Chains travel countless times over sharp gears, often under a heavy load. They wear out and stretch over time because of dirt, gunk and attrition. A little bit of chain stretch over time is ok and will always occur. The problem becomes when it stretches too far and the teeth on the cassette begin to wear out as well. Before long you will not only have to replace the chain but the cassette as well.

You’ll want to replace your chain every 1,000 – 2,000 miles, once a year, or whenever the chain is starting to show signs of wear. It’s a simple task that any cyclist can accomplish on their own with the right tools and know-how.

4. Inspect Your Bike

Inspect the frame for cracks or serious dents that are more than just cosmetic. Specific areas to look at are the joints particularly around the head tube and bottom bracket. If there are any cracks, even if it looks like it’s just paint, take the bike to your local bike shop to be looked at by an expert. For this reason (and a lot of others) it’s a good idea to take you bike in for a yearly tune up and checkover at your LBS.

5. Ride Clean Roads

Okay, that may not be possible, but riding in the rain and mud is going to wear out your bike and components more quickly. If you can be strategic with your route to avoid areas with a lot of mud and gravel it can go a long way. That being said, this is why many cyclists have a more budget friendly bike to ride in such conditions, and keep their more expensive bike out of the elements.

6. Cover it up or keep it inside.

Leaving your bike open to the elements will speed up the aging process. The sun, water and dirt will end up causing damage to your bike and cost you in repairs. If you’re in a humid climate, rust on certain metal components can also develop quicker. If possible, keep your bike inside. However, if you live in an apartment building or do not have adequate space, you will want to at least keep it covered.

Source: ilovebicycling.com

🇬🇧 Former member of Serbia Swimming Team and current member of Serbia Triathlon Team, engineer and sports lover.

🇷🇸 Bivši član reprezentacije Srbije u plivanju i reprezentativac Srbije u triatlonu, inženjer i zaljubljenik u sport.

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Train Slower To Race Faster

Train Slower To Race Faster

Follow the 80/20 rule for new performance gains.

To get to the finish line the fastest you have to power through at your hardest effort, but when it comes to training, a growing body of research confirms that endurance athletes should be doing 80 percent of their training at a low intensity and the other 20 percent at a moderate or high intensity. Simply put, hammering your way through every workout is ill advised.

The latest of these studies, published in the Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, demonstrated this by rounding up a group of recreational runners who ran between 30 and 43 miles per week. Half of the participants followed the 80/20 rule, while the other half ran at middle- to high-intensity paces for the majority of their training. At the end of the 10-week training period, researchers found that the 80/20 group made greater improvements in their 10K times, finishing a time trial an average of 41 seconds faster.

Another study examined three elite Canadian marathoners and discovered that they completed 74.3 percent of their training at low intensities. Other research found that highly trained cross-country skiers trained at a low intensity 75 percent of the time.

Stephen Seiler, an exercise scientist at the University of Agder in Norway, has extensively studied this approach to training across a wide range of endurance athletes. He explains the 80/20 rule, saying, “Training is about integrating intensity and accumulated duration—we think an important advantage of doing more low-intensity training is that we signal adaptations without incurring too much systemic stress.”

Seiler calls this “flying under the radar,” meaning that low-intensity training allows an athlete to gain fitness without overstressing the parasympathetic nervous system. “If you do too much high-intensity training, your body simply won’t be able to absorb all that stress and turn it into fitness,” explains Matt Fitzgerald, author of the new book, 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower. “Instead, you will accumulate a burden of chronic fatigue that you carry into all of your workouts, compromising your performance and further limiting the benefit that you get from your training.”

Perhaps most interestingly, the research suggests that the 80/20 rule applies to elites and weekend warriors alike. “For an elite athlete training 1,000 hours a year, this is absolutely critical and a very commonly observed characteristic of the best,” Seiler says. “For recreational athletes training three times a week, research findings and anecdotal evidence suggest that the most common training error people make is a regression toward the middle ‘pretty hard’ intensity regimen that the body quickly adapts to and then stagnates thereafter.”

How Intense?

To gauge when you might need to pull back on the reins intensity-wise, Fitzgerald recommends paying attention to feedback like heart rate, perceived exertion, pace and power output. The ventilatory threshold (where your breathing goes from comfortable to increasingly deep or rapid) marks the border between low- and moderate-intensity work. It usually falls around 77 percent of maximum heart rate in trained athletes, so if you’re using a heart rate monitor, that offers an appropriate guide for intensity.

This is all to say that 20 percent of your training should still be devoted to harder efforts. To determine how to break down that 20 percent, Fitzgerald says, “If you’re preparing for a sprint- or Olympic-distance race, most of it should go into the high-intensity bucket, but if it’s a longer race, at least half of it should go into the moderate-intensity bucket.”

“High-intensity training is absolutely still important for optimizing adaptations, but relatively little goes a long way, and more is not better,” adds Seiler. Many of us are unnecessarily taxing our bodies when we should be taking it easy. While it seems counterintuitive in a sport that emphasizes reaching the finish line fastest, in the long run you’ll see results when you properly polarize your training.

Source: triathlon.com

🇬🇧 Former member of Serbia Swimming Team and current member of Serbia Triathlon Team, engineer and sports lover.

🇷🇸 Bivši član reprezentacije Srbije u plivanju i reprezentativac Srbije u triatlonu, inženjer i zaljubljenik u sport.

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Race walking and brain size

Race walking and brain size

Human brain is usually decreasing over the years, so its volume decreases by about 0.2 percent per year until 60 years of age.

More intense brain reduction is associated with cognitive problems, says the team of Nicholas Spartan from the Boston University Medical School.

Their new research, conducted on middle-aged individuals, revealed that every extra hour that is spent in a light physical activity is associated with a 0.22 percent increment of brain volume. If You spend 10 to 19 minutes per day in moderate physical activity, such as race walking, is associated with a 0.29 percent increment of the brain volume compared to less than 10 minutes of easy activity.

These levels of activity are less than what is recommended as a minimum needed to achieve significant health benefits. The recommendations usually state that adults should spend at least 150 minutes per week in moderately intensive physical activity (about 21 minutes per day) or 75 minutes per week of intensive exercise, and at least 10,000 steps a day.

According to a new study, people who have passed at least 7,500 steps a day have a higher brain volume than those who walked less than 7,500 steps a day.

Scientists estimate that every additional hour of light physical activity is associated with 1.1 years of less aging of the brain, although they warn that because of respondents youth, the assessments may not be entirely accurate.

Ilustracija / Foto: Depositphotos/Yakobchuk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also noted that the links between the levels of activity, the number of steps and brain volume were not consistent, and small systemic benefits were observed only at the highest levels of effort.

For research purposes, scientists tested 2,354 middle-aged volunteers and measured their energy consumption and the number of steps. With the help of magnetic resonance, the volume of their brain is estimated in relation to the volume of the skull.

“There should not be much space in the skull that is not filled with brain tissue. If we see a lot of empty space, it suggests that the brain has decreased and it can be associated with dementia,” says Spartan.

The discovery that the lowest level of physical activity associated with a lower brain volume, even in middle age, suggests that some adults enter older years with a lower brain volume, which leads them to a more unfavorable position in terms of maintaining reduced brain tissue.

Professor of neuropsychology at the University of Columbia in New York, Jakov Stern, who was not involved in the study, suggests that the study only examined the relationship between physical activity and brain volume, and not cognitive functions and risks of dementia. It notes that further research is needed to clarify this.

🇬🇧 Former member of Serbia Swimming Team and current member of Serbia Triathlon Team, engineer and sports lover.

🇷🇸 Bivši član reprezentacije Srbije u plivanju i reprezentativac Srbije u triatlonu, inženjer i zaljubljenik u sport.

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Vertical Kicking (swimming drill)

Vertical Kicking (swimming drill)

Vertical kicking is a challenging drill great for promoting an efficient flutter kick.

Instead of kicking across the pool along the surface of the water, vertical kicking takes place in a stationary position in the deep end. The challenge of this drill lies in keeping your nose and mouth above the surface. It’s very tiring and should be performed in short intervals near the wall so you can rest as needed.

The lesson is to develop a quick cadence with the legs. The flutter kick is most efficient when performed with quick, short kicks.
Remember: The kick starts at the hip and uses the entire leg for propulsion.

Beginners should start with their arms under the water. You can make small hand movements to help keep the body afloat and stationary. Minimize arm sculling for support and focus on the legs to develop a good kick. The next step is to eliminate upper-body assistance by locking your hands together and keeping them tight to your body. When this is no longer a challenge, try raising the tips of your fingers out of the water. Efficient and strong kickers can raise their hands, forearms or entire arms out of the water while keeping their head above the water!

Set 1

 

Go to a place in the pool that’s deeper than your height and has a good view of a pace clock. Push away from the wall a few seconds before the interval starts and use your arms to place yourself in a vertical position. When the clock starts, lift your hands to the surface and use a flutter kick to keep your head above the surface. Keep your eyes on the clock. Train with a buddy and alternate your vertical kicking.

• 6×30 sec vertical kicking with 60 sec rest

• 5 sec kick, 15 sec rest, 30 sec kick, 30 sec rest, 45 sec kick, 45 sec rest (repeat 3 times)

Set 2

 

Get creative and mix the challenge of vertical kicking into another set. Combine it with swimming, kicking with a board or relays.

• Swim 4×100 yards. In the middle of each lap, vertical kick for 15 seconds then continue swimming.

OR

• Kick 300 yards with a board. Every 60 seconds, hold the kickboard out of the water and vertical kick for 15 seconds.

Source: triathlete.com (Sara McLarty)

🇬🇧 Former member of Serbia Swimming Team and current member of Serbia Triathlon Team, engineer and sports lover.

🇷🇸 Bivši član reprezentacije Srbije u plivanju i reprezentativac Srbije u triatlonu, inženjer i zaljubljenik u sport.

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Perfect Run Form

Perfect Run Form

Speed and endurance are important, but technique is king.

Look at a standard training plan for triathlon, and you’ll see a lot of runs focusing on speed and endurance, but few—if any—workouts dedicated to technique. That’s a massive mistake, says Amy Harrison, Athletic Trainer and Performance Coordinator at Ohio Health Sports Medicine.

“Good form keeps you running healthy,” says Harrison. “Everyone focuses on performance rather than staying healthy, but you can’t perform well if you don’t make it to the starting line.”

This is especially true for triathletes, who often see a breakdown in form in the transition from bike to run. According to a 2010 study by Australian researchers, half of triathletes display involuntary changes to their normal running mechanics after riding a bike. These changes reduce running economy, create slower run times, and set the stage for injury. Most triathletes don’t realize these changes are taking place, so they continue to run the same way they always have, with nary a thought to technique.

To maximize health and performance, it’s important to focus on the very basic building blocks of run form. That doesn’t mean you need to completely overhaul the way you run, says Harrison. Instead, it’s about improving one small element of your run form at a time. Harrison suggests following a “ladder” of run form, mastering the first skill before moving on to the next.

Run Skill Ladder

Foot Strike

“Whether you midfoot strike or heel strike, your foot should land close to your center of gravity,” says Harrison. “Your foot should contact the ground right underneath you, not way out in front.” Make a conscious effort in this landing zone for all runs—does your foot strike change when you run off the bike? When you speed up or slow down? On hills? When fatigued? Adjust accordingly.

Flexibility

“Running form is mostly limited by your available range of motion,” says Harrison. “If you increase your range of motion, you improve your form.” Calf tightness, for example, limits forward propulsion at push-off; tight hamstrings will increase stress to the knee joint. Harrison advises runners to progressively build into a twice-daily stretching regimen of the calves, hip flexors, hamstrings, and piriformis muscles.

Hip Stability

Building aerobic endurance means very little if the body can’t hold up over the miles. If you notice aches and pains in the latter half of your long runs, it’s likely because your form is falling apart. Hip abductor weakness causes the opposite hip to drop or internally rotate, which wastes energy decreases running efficiency, and increases stress to the hips and knees.. You can sometimes see this hip drop in race photos or video analysis of your gait. While running, pay attention to where your foot is landing. Are you crossing over the midline of your body—that is, when you run on a painted line alongside the road, do your feet hit or cross the line? That’s a sign of hip abductor weakness. “Strengthening your core stabilizers, hip abductors, and hip extensors will help you maintain your trunk and hip positions, especially late in runs,” says Harrison.

Shoulders, Arms, and Hands

Believe it or not, tension in the shoulders, arms, and hands can directly impact run performance. You may not notice it, but over time, tense shoulders can creep up into a shrug, causing your arms to swing side-to-side. This inefficient run form wastes energy, causes fatigue, and makes you lapse into poor running form. To keep tension at bay, do a tension check every mile—are your shoulders relaxed? Are the hands at hip level? Are the elbows bent at a relaxed 90-degree angle, with arms swinging by your sides? If not, do a quick shakeout of the hands and arms to reset.

Cadence

After mastering the skills above, it’s time to focus on cadence, or how many steps you take in a minute. “I recommend cadence drills, bike sprints, and/or a cadence app for anyone with a cadence below 160,” says Harrison. “Improving cadence will correct a lot of other technique problems, like over-reaching.”

Don’t try to overhaul your cadence overnight. Instead, Harrison suggests shooting for 10 percent increases—in other words, if your cadence is 140 steps per minute, focus on increasing your cadence by 14 additional steps per minute, or a cadence of 154. Apps like Running Cadence will help you keep the pace until the new cadence becomes second nature.

Source: triathlete.com (Susan Lacke)

🇬🇧 Former member of Serbia Swimming Team and current member of Serbia Triathlon Team, engineer and sports lover.

🇷🇸 Bivši član reprezentacije Srbije u plivanju i reprezentativac Srbije u triatlonu, inženjer i zaljubljenik u sport.

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