We caught up with Simone Maier, local legend and tri-athlete/multi-sport extraordinaire, to gain some insider knowledge on how to prepare for this year’s race-season. With 9 years of tri experience, 7 Challenge Wanaka competitions, and a Coast To Coast 2021 win under her race belt, we asked for her top pre-race advice.
How do you prepare on the last few weeks leading up to a race
“One week before shorter haul races, I start tapering my training. For long distance races though, I like to taper off my training a bit earlier, around two weeks prior to the event. Other things to consider on the lead up to the event is getting your gear ready. You’ll need to get your bike and helmet checked before Challenge and you might even want to get a service to ensure all of your screws are tight, that your breaks work well etc. I also like to double check my race day clothing is still comfortable and doesn’t rub or cause any discomfort. If I can go and check out the race course before the event then I will.
You said if you can go and check out the race course you do – what do you look for
“Checking out the Challenge Wanaka course is a great idea because it’s open to the public. When I go to check out race courses I look for: how tight are the turnaround points, road conditions such as loose gravel, where are the aid stations located, locating steeper sections, where I should have my nutrition brakes. It’s also a great time to take in the views because you won’t have time to do so on race day!”
What food do you eat during a race
“My top tip for race day food, is to only eat the foods you’ve been training with! Never introduce something new on race day unless it’s an emergency. I always make sure that I have some snacks on me such as Cliff nutrition blocks, a banana and energy gels. To make sure I’m well hydrated I always have a water bottle on me and travel with hydration sachets to ensure my electrolyte levels are kept up.”
What are your top tips for race day
“Pace yourself! Most people start too fast and end up having a horrible time trying to finish the race. Stick to the pace you’ve established through training. Keep up your nutrition programme and don’t change anything otherwise it could affect your performance.
Make sure you’re prepared for mechanical failures, by bringing a repair kit. I’d recommend having a high-pressure cartridge in your repair kit and make sure you know how to use it before the day. Time yourself taking your wheels off and putting them back on again just in case you need to fix a flat on the day.
My last tip for race day, is to bring an anti-chafing cream so you can apply it right before the race. Products like Butt Butter from Sweet Cheeks are a great option as it’s made with a beeswax base which is safe to use with wetsuits and is also very waterproof.”
How do you wind down after a big race
I like to finish off a race by jumping straight into the nearest lake/body of water with a protein shake to soak off. Some events will offer free massages or other assisted cool downs which I’d highly recommend.
Try to eat something if your stomach isn’t too tight. If you can’t manage any food at first, just ensure you are drinking lots of water and hydration sachets/protein shakes which will give you nutritional benefits until you can manage food. When you do eat, give in to your cravings – you deserve it!
The day after a race, I’ll usually go for an easy ride on my bike. I can’t stress enough how easy this ride is, it’s just to get your legs turning. Another great option is going for a mellow swim to warm up your muscles but again, keep it really easy. If the thought of getting back on your bike or in the water for a swim doesn’t sound like your kind of wind down, massages are an amazing alternative which don’t require any effort from you.”
Good luck to everyone getting involved in race events this season!