Lucy Hall is a British elite triathlete. Aged 20, she has been selected as domestique for the GB team at the London Olympics.
Lucy did her first triathlon aged 8, after being encouraged by her dad who competed in Ironman races. A generally sporty kid, playing rugby, cricket and tennis, she represented her county of Leicestershire at national level in swimming and soon excelled in triathlon.
She was selected to represent Great Britain in the European Youth Triathlon Championships, where she won gold in 2006 aged 13, and bronze in 2007 as part of relay teams.
Lucy Hall moved to Loughborough to study sports science, and in 2011, her last year as a junior, she went to her first World Junior Championships as one of the favourites, but a stray dog ended her race whilst she was leading on the bike.
She finished the year strongly however, leading the swim and performing well in the bike in her first ITU World Championships Series race in Hamburg.
In autumn 2011 Lucy became part of the British Triathlon Olympic Academy squad at Loughborough (coached by Intelligent Triathlon Training's Mark Pearce), and in the spring of 2012 took her first senior victory in the ITU Pan-American Cup event in Salinas, Ecuador.
Known as ‘the mermaid’ and renowned for leading out races in the swim, combined with her ever improving strength on the bike means Lucy is the ideal domestique for GB’s Helen Jenkins at the 2012 Olympics.
A lot of people will probably be surprised by your selection for the Olympics, as you haven’t been competing at senior level for very long. In fact only a few months ago you were saying it wasn’t a realistic goal, and that it was just exciting knowing people in your squad could potentially go. How surprised are you at your progress, and has the news of your selection sunk in?
I am surprised actually, I don’t feel my performance has improved much over the last few months necessarily, but I have improved on my race ‘prep’ and handling travel and racing as a senior.
Obviously I was over the moon to be selected for the Olympic team but over the last fortnight I just wanted to know the panels decision so I could get on with training either as a domestique or individual.
You’re going to the Olympics as a domestique, to work for current World Champion Helen Jenkins. In the British Triathlon Super Series sprint race at Strathclyde last year Helen said it really helped having you there, especially as you are ‘a lot better technically than her on the bike’.
How are you looking forward to racing as part of a team to support her as opposed to racing against her, and does this provide additional pressures compared to racing for yourself?
Last year at Strathclyde Helen had just fallen off her bike in Sydney so I think it helped her having someone there to lead through the corners, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m technically better than her.
I have raced as part of a team in team relay championships before, but never raced for a world champion, so I’m a little anxious but I’m sure once I’ve done some training sessions with her I’ll be more confident, and be able to handle the pressure.
Lucy Hall discovered she has an Ecuadorian fan club after her win at the ITU Pan American Cup race in Salinas, Ecuador!
What is your training going to be like between now and the Games?
A little more swim mileage to get race sharp and a lot more work focused on my bike strength. My running schedule will be pretty much non-existent.
With your focus on swim bike training, your run will not get the attention it normally would. So how do you think competing as a domestique will help your future development as a triathlete?
The opportunity to compete in Olympic Games and especially in my home country is something that I could not turn down. This might be the only shot I get so I have to take it. Not running for 8 weeks will be a little different but what's 8 weeks!
The swim/bike element is just as important to master as the run, hopefully focusing on them now will allow me to develop those areas so that post Games I can focus on my run training.
With a swim as strong as yours, have you thought about what it would be like to come out of the water in the lead at a home Olympics, with thousands of supporters getting very excited?!
I honestly hope that it feels like every other race, and once the adrenaline is pumping I'll be just solely concentrating on the race and not what's going on around me. That been said, the home support will be fantastic and only spur me on more.
How have things changed training-wise since becoming part of British Triathlon’s Olympic Development Programme?
My swim training has stayed pretty much the same, however I’ve been able to train more with the guys on the bike which I think has improved my strength endurance.
Lucy Hall and some of the guys in the BTF Loughborough Olympic Development Programme squad
The BTF support is really good, from the physio treatment to nutrition advice and really makes my life a lot easier, allowing me to focus on training more.
My new coach Mark Pearce uses a lot of statistics and technology to monitor my training which is all new to me, but slowly I’m understanding how important it is to log my training and periodise training blocks so I don’t break down.
Tell us about your race day equipment, what equipment do you use and why.
I would plug sponsors but I don’t have any. Blue Seventy and Enve have supplied me with swim kit and wheels this year, which is really useful as the products work well for me and I don't have to share them with my brother anymore.
Other race day items include elastic bands for holding my bike shoes in place on the bike, two caffeinated energy gels, one bottle of water, one bottle of energy drink and of course my helmet.
What tips would you have for junior triathletes moving into senior competition?
It’s the distances that hurt the most, running 10k off the bike is such a big jump but that might be more specific to me as it’s the running element I have always struggled with.
I thought there would be more battling in the water or shouting on the bike but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
You said in a previous interview that you want to learn how to cook better, how’s that going?!
Ermm, I suppose I’m not progressing as much as I would hope as Mark (Buckingham, Lucy's boyfriend) tends to take care of it most days.
What’s your favourite pre and post-race food?
Pre: Bagels with raspberry jamPost: I’m not brilliant at eating post race, probably a milkshake if I can manage it.
How are your studies affected by your selection, how do you manage to juggle everything?
I’ve currently gone part-time at Loughborough College, so that's made the workload a lot more manageable.
How do you relax when you’re not training?
I spend a lot of time reading Daily Mail online! I literally flick through it when I’m having breakfast, at lunch then again before I go to bed. Sad I know! Our training schedules leave us with very little time to do much else, apart from I do from time to time meet up with close friends when I can.
9th June 2012