At the end of last year I tore my hamstring which was possibly the most painful experience of my life. I had to take six weeks out of training and it took a full three months to return to complete fitness. I am still trying to shift those last few kilos of “injury weight” (which I put on whilst not being able to train aerobically effectively).

I am extremely grateful to Liz at the Neilson Clinic (Physiotherapy in Weymouth) whom I saw every other day, for digging her elbows into my leg, and Jen at the Pilates Centre Weymouth whom I saw every day for stretching, for getting me back on track so soon. I was lucky that my injury didn’t cause me to miss any major events, although it would have been nice to have done a little bit of windsurfing over the winter as I had initially planned.

It is vital that this does not occur again. I therefore looked at ways to increase the flexibility and strength of my hamstrings (which are underused in sailing) to make sure this does not happen in the future.

When I think of people who are good at kicking (which requires good hamstring flexibility) one of the first sports I think of is martial arts. I am very lucky that it is possible to do Taekwondo some six times a week in Weymouth, with most of the training sessions within walking distance from my flat (so I really do not have much excuse not to go!) The Master 5th Dan, Rob MacDonald, is passionate about the club which he has run since 1996. It is the only club in the area which is recognised in Korea and the World Taekwondo Federation and by the Olympics. Indeed the club can trace its lineage back to the founder of the first modern school of Taekwondo, Lee Won Kuk. They have an excellent website which is Taekwondo is not only helping my hamstrings (I know it is working as after my first Wednesday session I had extremely sore hamstrings) but the “patterns” are very good for my co-ordination which is great as I tend to be quite right side dominant. I also particularly enjoy the pad work as I feel it is much more productive to kick something “solid” rather than just thin area. Perhaps it will also toughen up my feet for hiking!

I am going to go to Taekwondo two/three times a week when I am in Weymouth. (At the time of writing I am just about to get on a plane from Gatwick to Nice. I do this route so many times I should be able to buy a season ticket!) My girlfriend Lady May also goes to Taekwondo so I can not miss too much or she will show me up...