Chorley pole vault ace Holly Bradshaw says speed is key to her quest for a global title after a sprint approach saw her equal her second highest jump – indoors or out.
Bradshaw, 27, built on a winning jump of 4.80m at the British Indoor Championships earlier this year and topping the charts by jumping 4.81 at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix this weekend.
Her personal best is clearing 4.87m in Villeurbanne in January 2012.
And the Blackburn Harriers’ athlete says the secret to her recent form is all down to a shift in her practice methods.
Since finishing in the top eight at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Bradshaw has been hit by injuries.
But now she says she is fitter and stronger than ever something which has allowed her to focus on increasing her speed.
The ex-Parklands High School pupil says she has barely touched the pole in training, instead preparing like a sprinter with the results at the indoor meets not her focus – just upping the speed.
But she is pleased to see the results of her change of tactics and is now hungry for more at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow next month, though the main aim is building on a gold at the Athletics World Cup in 2018 by gaining an Olympic or World title.
And she credits the shorter and faster run-up to her recent success.
She said: “I surprised myself and I’m really happy with how it went. A season best, my second highest jump ever of 4.81, I really cannot complain.
“Since October we decided I needed to get a lot faster on the run.
“Back in 2012 I used to be really fast on the run but it was almost in the wrong place on the run.
“I’d be really fast halfway down and then I’d be losing speed towards the box.
“The last six years because of injuries and wanting to be in control, I have not been able to be as fast on the run.
“This year the aim has been to get my speed back up so I can be hitting the pole hard and take bigger poles.
“Everyone says that speed wins and it really does.
“Since October we have been doing a lot of speed sessions.
“I have almost been training like a 60-metre sprinter.
“Pole vault has almost been on the back burner because I know in my mind if I want to win a world or Olympic medal, I need to be as fast as I can be on the run.
“The European indoors and the indoor season was a second thought really.
“It was, ‘Let’s get fast ready for Doha (The 2019 World Championships in Athletics) and Tokyo’ (the 2020 Olympics) and that has been the secret really.
“I’m so much faster on the run which means I can take bigger poles and I am jumping so much higher, even though it is from a short approach.”