Home is where the heart is as Sam prepares for Rio

Photo Neil Cross
Pentathlon her World Champion Samantha Murray with her gold medal and her jackadoodle, Bobby

Photo Neil Cross Pentathlon her World Champion Samantha Murray with her gold medal and her jackadoodle, Bobby

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In her latest blog, Olympic silver medallist and world champion Samantha Murray discusses home comforts, her beloved pet dog and the importance of a balanced lifestyle.

It is said that home is where the heart is, and I am no different to most in that sense.

Samantha Murray

Samantha Murray

Over the festive period, I returned to my family home in Clitheroe for a break. My parents live in the Ribble Valley.

The scenery is beautiful and there are many lovely walks and local pubs to stop by at on the way. This year the flooding affected so many houses and businesses in our area. People were evacuated from their homes on Christmas Day as the water just kept rising and rain kept falling! It was really sad. We weren’t affected at home, but as the roads were closed, it meant we couldn’t really go anywhere either!

In the New Year I made my way back down to Bath to start training for 2016. I keep hearing people say how quickly they feel time has gone since 2012, but for me, I couldn’t be more ready to embrace this year. 2016 is here! Few days back to training to wake my body up, then I spent five days in Rome at the Italian Olympic training centre.

There was some down time, with my coach Istvan Nemeth and the other girls I went over with – Joanna Muir and Kate French – we had few great trips into the centre and enjoyed some amazing pizza.

Samantha Murray

Samantha Murray

I’m usually one for ordering my ‘know to like’ dish, but this time I took a chance on something new, and it did not disappoint: buffalo mozzarella, potato and truffle. Maybe the tastiest pizza I’ve had, but then in Italy they always seem to taste the best! Besides the pizza and new environment, our main objective of training in Rome was to fence with new sparring partners. Fencing is a popular sport in Italy so there’s always lots of people to fence.

Returning home was great as I had my dog Bob who is a Jack Russell-cross-Poodle waiting for me! We all love our dogs and regard them as a great friend and I’m no exception to that. I would love to have him live with me and follow me on my travels but it wouldn’t be fair or manageable so he lives with my parents who totally adore him (it’s pretty hard not to). I always grew up around animals on my grandparents’ farm and so it’s been an adjustment and an acceptance that while I’m an athlete having a pet isn’t really possible. Something for the future!

I’m often asked how I like to relax or what my hobbies are. For me, down time is definitely one of those things that you simply have to do. You just can’t expect to be on the go all the time and train every minute of the day and then expect to perform at your maximum. You’ve got to allow your body to recover.

For everyone in life, regardless of what you’re doing, having a balance and understanding that we’re not robots is really important, even though it is easy to forget that as a sportsperson. I like to have new experiences and a varied lifestyle outside of training. The concept of well being is really important to us all and is a key to our happiness. My coach told me ‘happy athletes are successful athletes’. So for me personally, I find that having a balanced lifestyle is critical: nutrition, sleep, training, time with friends, interests and some good fun!

Hopefully the skill of balancing out everything that I learnt while training and completing high school; sixth form; university and the Olympic Games, will be valuable to my future.

l Aldi are proud supporters of Team GB, read more from Samantha Murray at www.teamgb.com/homegrownheroes