Refreshed Hooker to be more conservative
Justin Chadwick 18:06 AEST Wed Jan 12 2011
Star Australian pole vaulter Steve Hooker concedes he has to take a more cautious approach with his workload if he is to successfully defend his world championship and Olympic crowns.
A hectic 2010 campaign took a heavy toll on Hooker, who was forced to pull out of Australia's 2011 domestic season after his dodgy knee flared up.
Hooker aims to return to competition in June but said he would need to be far more conservative with his workload ahead of August's World Championships in South Korea and the 2012 London Olympics.
"The knee itself is looking good. I saw a doctor the other day and it's coming along very nicely, so nothing to complain about," Hooker told AAP on Wednesday.
"Essentially I've got a bit of an underlining knee problem that I've had for 10 years.
"The first time I experienced it was in 2000.
"It's one of those things you have as a jumper.
"It's actually called jumper's knee, so I'm fitting the cliche there.
"My normal cycle would be compete for two or three months, take a couple of weeks off and then train for two or three months leading into the next series of competitions.
"That was thrown out of the window last year when I essentially competed from February until October with no solid training block in the middle.
"Lesson learnt from that, that's not something my body can handle and I'll be going back to my more traditional approach in the coming year and a half."
Hooker said his break from competition was far from a traditional rest, with the Beijing gold medallist already back into a gruelling training regime.
"(I'm) into my routine of three training sessions a day, six days a week," he said.
"I'm doing a pretty solid strength and conditioning rehab, so a lot of weight sessions to build up some strength around the knee."
Hooker failed to perform at his best in 2010 but still managed to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in India.
The 28-year-old said he was as hungry as ever to dominate the sport, eager to hold off rising stars such as French duo Renaud Lavillenie and Romain Mesnil.
"For me it's the best job in the world," he said.
"I never struggle for motivation, I never find it hard to get out of bed in the morning to go to training. I enjoy it.
"It's not a hard thing to do. I love going to training and I love getting out there every day with my training group."
Hooker took a lucky group of school kids through their paces on Wednesday to promote the upcoming Perth leg of the TRYathlon series, with registrations to close on February 8
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