Interview with Champion of The Championship 2021, Lucy Buckingham

We caught up with champion of The Championship 2021, Lucy Buckingham (Hall), to discover her key tips for the course, training advice and what helped her take the win…

Which race did you qualify at for The Championship 2021?
Challenge Gdańsk in June, just a couple of months before The Championship. I finished second.

How did it feel winning The Championship in 2021?
It was an amazing feeling :)! I was so excited to win The Championship title. I executed a strong swim and bike performance and just tried to hold on to the win on the run as I could tell I was starting to slow down in the last 10km. 2020 was such a turbulent year for me, I was considering retirement, however, I love training and I found my love for racing again :).

What are your key tips for the swim, bike and run courses?
 make sure you are aware of the current after the turn point, it can sometimes catch you off guard.
Bike: I know the bike course has changed a little for 2022 but my biggest tip would be to remember to take on nutrition and know where the aid stations are on the course.
Run: the course is quite twisty-turny so I would practice changing direction in training plus The Championship run course is very unique in the sense there’s different terrain; grass, pavement, spongy surface through the stables and sand. It’s a super fun course, it keeps you on your toes that’s for sure!

What would your training advice be for someone racing The Championship for the first time?
Practice open water is a must! The more you practice open water, the easier it will become. Practice running off road even though the run course is relatively flat it has challenging terrain. Also it can sometimes be super hot in Šamorín, so practice taking on fluids when running. In hot conditions the aid stations will be very important.

If you could share one piece of inside strategy about the course that you think helped you to victory, what would it be?
Pacing judgement on the bike. I decided to ride the second half of the bike pretty strong. I did struggle towards the end of the run however, I do think I got my nutrition slightly wrong on the run, but I hope to execute a great swim, bike and run at The Championship 2022!

What’s your typical pre-race breakfast?
I tend to have porridge with peanut butter and honey and a banana.

What gear did you use for the race:
Time Trial Bike: FELT IA
Helmet: HJC
Drink Bottles: OTE
Bike Shoes: SIDI
Clothing: SANTINI
Running Shoes: HOKA ROCKET X
Sunglasses: OAKLEY

What was your favourite thing about the race venue, x-bionic sphere?
The unique run course is so much fun, it’s quite challenging too. I also loved the facilities at the x-bionic sphere. The 50m swimming pool was such a joy to train in.

What do you usually do the day after a big race?
Sleep! Sleep is so important, especially after racing when it’s usually an early start, plus the pre-race nerves and physical effort of racing can put a lot of stress on the body. Rest and recuperation is key. However, last year after The Championship I did end up on the water slides at the x-bionic aquatic sphere for a good hour!