American Record Holder Brad Walker shares insight from his Prefontaine Classic performance and injury recovery leading up to the event.
Well as many of you guys may know, I came up with a pretty severe ankle injury in February when I came up a bit short on a jump. I landed on the slanted section of the pole vault pit and my spike landed square but my ankle turned and the leg kept going. Fortunately for me I am almost through the ordeal, and am finally able to get back to competition. The week before Prefontaine I had one meet where I ran from 12 strides or 2/3rds my full approach. I really just wanted to see how the ankle would feel under that kind of pressure and it held up just fine. With one vault session to go before Pre, I decided to move my step back to 16 steps and try to find my step, mid mark, and get off some jumps. I only left the ground once from full approach that session, but we were at least able to dial in a step for Pre.
Warmups went pretty well at the meet and I was happy with my clearance at 5.53. However, I was expecting my mid mark to be further back than it actually was and I didn’t have anyone to grab my takeoff mark, so I made the assumption that I was too close and needed to move back a bit, especially with the tail wind. That was the wrong call, and along with rushing the approach out of the back I ended up being too far out and losing my position at takeoff when the bar went to 5.73. Oh well, you live and learn. Now I’m looking at competing at UCLA and the Olympic training center for the next two meets to get dialed in for Nationals and Europe!