2013 proved a tough ride for 800m athlete Guy Learmonth but he produced his best just when it mattered.
The 21 year old Borderer ended the track season as one of the first athletes to be selected for Team Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. But until last monthÂ things were not exactly looking rosy.
Back in April he suffered negative effects following altitude training in the Pyrenees and it took him months to rediscover his running legs.
“I couldn’t get moving,” he recalls. “Then I tried hard in training to get back to where I was and picked up a few injuries in my back and glutes.
“I had lots of physiological tests done and they said it was fine; it’s just that I knew it wasn’t fine because I couldn’t run fast. My legs weren’t moving fast.”
After yet another bad race in July Learmonth’s older brother suggested he take a complete break from the sport. But it was his father who convinced him that what he really needed was a break from competition.
“The best thing I did was to listen to my Dad telling me to take four weeks away from competition instead of chasing times and races”, says Learmonth.
“There was no way in the middle of July I was going to take time off completely. And that really defines who I am. I’m pretty resilient and this season has made me way more resilient, and I just have to persevere and get through it and thankfully I did it in the end.
“Then I came back out and pretty much ran the Commonwealth standard instantly.”
Learmonth admits he left it to the eleventh hour to produce a time inside the selection criteria, in his own words ‘salvaging’ the season. Having done so a certain pressure has lifted.
A final year Loughborough University student he plans to complete the last two modules of his course. After that he can devote himself full time to preparing for Glasgow.
“It’s a big weight lifted off my shoulders and there will be no pressure at all on me this winter,” continues Learmonth whose winter training understandably does not involve any altitude training.
“I’m just going to make sure I get it right, and my coaches get the training right, which I know they will and I can peak for the end of July when I need to be running fast.”
He has already had a taste of the atmosphere Hampton stadium, venue for the Glasgow Games athletics event, having been invited by Scottish Athletics to an England versus Wales football game earlier this year. Next summer he will be the one there under the spotlight.
“Competing in a home Games is going to be amazing, an absolute honour to run for my country in Scotland and I just want to do everyone proud,” he says.
“It’s also having the support of the whole crowd, and who can’t run well not run well when there are tens of thousands of people screaming you on.
“I see it as an opportunity and I guess life is about taking opportunities and grabbing them, so I’m going to grab this one and make the most of it. I literally can’t wait to get out there and get racing.”
You can follow Guy on Twitter @GuyLearmonth
Photo Credit: Scottish Athletics