Zara Davis: need for speed

Zara Davis takes training seriously. The fastest female windsurfer in the world shares a few tips on injury management and balance training.

Zara Davis knows what she's doing, when she's got a windsurf board under her feet. The osteopath and acupuncturist sails fast. At 47, it's important to get fit for the record. In her blog, she shared tips on how to improve chances of beating her own marks.

"If you can remain uninjured, you can train or compete. Injury takes time out of training that can never be recovered. The ability to balance and have good proprioception - the ability for your brain to know where your body is in space - is critical for injury prevention and performance," explains Davis.

"One of the exercises to help with that could be to stand on a swiss ball and balance. However, the risks of falling off a swiss ball whilst standing on it. So, in this case, a better exercise might be to kneel on the ball, and to challenge yourself further close your eyes".

Zara Davis, who holds the women's world windsurfing 500-meter record at 45.83 knots, believes that you shouldn't train at all if you're in pain.

"Don't stretch before exercise. The balance of research suggests stretching is not helpful especially before exercise and may increase injury risk".

Also, don't train ill. Check your temperature regularly, and "definitely don't train if it's high. A useful tip is to use heart rate, and if it rises by more than 5 beats from your average range you may still be fighting infection".

Now, the list of should-do's. Rule number one: "do a dynamic warm up that includes the ranges of movement that you will be doing in the sport, but more slowly and with real thought as to the movement involved". Basically, you'll be teaching the brain for the future.

Then, eat within 20 minutes of finishing a training session. "Don't wait until you get home". Take carbohydrates and some proteins to replace your muscle glycogen. Drink a pint of milk, a banana and some nuts. That will be enough.

Stabilisation training is essential for any sport. Davis does a combination of Pilates and suspension training. Finally, every once and while, get a regular massage and make sure you visit an osteopath or physiotherapist.