SAMMI Kinghorn has proven over the last year or so just how tough a cookie she is.

A switch from sprints to the marathon for the Commonwealth Games in April resulted in a fourth-place finish, as well as a fourth place in the 1500m but the Closing Ceremony of the Games saw her end the endurance chapter of her career. And from her point of view, the return to the shorter distances over the past few months, in which she is a double world champion, has been extremely welcome.

However, the 22-year-old, who was one of the Sunday Herald’s ‘6 to Follow’ in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games, admits that as challenging as it was to become a distance athlete, the benefits she has gleaned from the temporary change of event are significant and have made her appreciate her sprint sessions even more.

“I was really happy with how everything went in Gold Coast,” the Glasgow-based athlete said.

“The training I had to do was brutal and I’m so glad I’ve experienced that. It’s helped my endurance a lot so it’s been really good for me. I’m definitely glad to be back to sprints now though.”

Kinghorn did not throw herself straight back into the rigours of training at the close of the Games though, she allowed herself the luxury of six weeks travelling around Australia and New Zealand.

Having been a professional athlete since she was a teenager, being able to enjoy an extended break was something she was not accustomed to and she did, she admits, make the most of the opportunity, racking up quite a few firsts.

“We travelled down the east coast of Australia and then went to New Zealand,” she said. “I swam in the Great Barrier Reef, went sky diving and did a bungee jump.

“I wasn’t nervous at all for the sky dive whereas I was more nervous for the bungee jump. That was my first time for both but I loved them.

“Sky diving was always something I’d wanted to do. I'd tried to do it a few times at home but they were always a bit worried about my disability whereas over in New Zealand they were just like yeah, let’s do this.

“We were 15,000 feet up and it was -23 degrees when we jumped out so it was freezing. We fell through the clouds and then the sky cleared and you can see for miles - it was incredible.”

With Kinghorn having been on the international scene for so long, she has chosen to do things differently this summer. Rather than get straight back to the grind of competition following her return from Australia, Kinghorn has chosen to use the remainder of this year primarily as a training block, which is why she was absent from last month's World Para-Athletics European Championships in Berlin. It has not all been plain sailing but Kinghorn is now back into the daily grind of training.

“Getting back into training was tough and I had to spend a bit of time trying to get my arms used to going fast again. And I had to get used to doing 200m instead of 1km and 2km,” she said. "But the benefit of having done the longer-distances over the last year is that I’m more excited to go to training now.”

However, Kinghorn has allowed herself one competitive outing this summer, at last weekend's Godiva Classic in Coventry, where she won the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. While it was not a major competition, Kinghorn loved being back on the start-line.

"It was so great to be back on the track doing what I love again - sprinting," she said. "It was so strange being able to stop at the finish line and not have to keep going for 1500m or 26 miles though! I’ve enjoyed getting back to sprinting ways but ahead of last weekend's event, I was actually a little nervous. But I'm happy with how it all went."

When Kinghorn re-emerges in the major championship arena next year, she knows that right from the off, she will have considerable pressure upon her shoulders. And it is this that has persuaded her that a serious block of training over the winter and next spring is what's required to ensure that when she returns, she is in shape to add to her silverware collection.

“I’m at the stage where people are beginning to expect things from me – I go to an event and it’s not the same as when I was 17 because people are expecting me to come home with medals now. That’s quite scary and I do feel a lot of pressure going into events now so it’s nice to think I have this block of training ahead of me so I can get back to where I want to be.

“And it’s good to think I can have a bit of a normal life for a little bit too. I’m going on holiday in November to Dubai with one of my friends and so it’ll be great to do that for once.”