In a new series, SPIKES asks top athletes to share their words of wisdom. Kicking it off is Brazil’s 2011 pole vault world champion and South American record holder Fabiana Murer, who reveals three things she’s learned during her career.

1. Don’t mess with technique

“I once tried to change my technique in the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics, but it did not work out so well [Murer failed to qualify for the final at the London Games]. That year I did not compete indoors and I spent more time training. I don’t think that was so good because I picked up an Achilles injury and ended up changing my technique.

“I had some problems before reverting back to my old technique, but it was too late. Because of playing with a new technique I missed some crucial training time.”

Fabiana Murer ()

Murer has won two world titles: indoors in 2010 and outdoors in 2011

2. Never give up

“One time I made a technical mistake, almost landed out of the pit and twisted my ankle. I was trying to make the standard for Helsinki World Championships in 2005. I was struggling two weeks out from the first competition of the season, but I continued to train and after two months I qualified for the World Championships, where I equalled my [then] PB of 4.40m.”

Fabiana Murer (Getty)

Murer's PB is 4.85m, which is the South American record

3. Be careful what you eat pre-competition

“At a competition in Belém [in Brazil] I ate some fish the night before a competition, which wasn’t so good. I was sick in the middle of the night and during the competition I had a stomach ache and didn’t have the strength to compete.

“Now when I compete, I have familiar foods and not ones that are very different. I’m not sure whether it was the fish or the salt that made me sick, but now I avoid salt before a competition, too.”