Presuming Laura Muir is not too shattered following the near 26 hour shift she started at 8.30am on Thursday and was due to complete around 10am yesterday then she will, as ever, be on the start line at the Lindsays Scottish Short Course Cross Country Championships in Kirkcaldy this morning.

In her first competitive appearance since the World Championships in London in August, the country’s most famous vet student, who is currently completing her course with an intense spell of work experience, is set to defend the title she has won for the past two years.

On the face of it undertaking the risks of slithering around in mud and glaur might seem unnecessary for the double European indoor champion has established herself as one of the prime assets in what is being considered a golden era for Scottish athletics. However, as her coach Andy Young explains, whereas he has seen this event as an important way of measuring development in the past - as is the case with two of his other contenders for honours Jemma Reekie and Sol Sweeney - this time around Muir will simply be there because this is genuinely the 24-year-old’s idea of fun.

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“It’s a bit different nowadays for Laura when it’s not really quite so necessary and I can tell how well she’s going just looking at her training, so it doesn’t really form a vital part of her winter as such. But at the same time she likes it,” he explained. “She enjoys coming out and doing cross country, even though I make her do a training session straight after the race. It’s something a bit different and something for her to get a little bit of focus on and it’s nice for her to come back and run in Scotland. She’d be paid thousands of pounds to go and run on the road someplace else, but it’s nice for I would say the youngsters to get to see her, but there were as many adults coming over for photographs last year.”

Leading coaches constantly draw inspiration from unlikely places and a recent night out to see one of his favourite bands, Train, offered Young useful perspective.

“This is one of the biggest bands in America who can sell out huge, huge arenas in the States and I’m doing the maths in my head… two and a half thousand seats in here at £30 a go, they’re not making any money,” he noted. “You watch them perform and they’re really enjoying it because they’re close up to the crowd, they’re engaging with him and I’m thinking he’s not doing this for money, it’s just a little bit of giving back to the fans but also something he enjoys and going back to his roots. If they’re up there in front of thirty, forty, fifty thousand people at a festival they’re a bit disconnected, but if you’re at the Carling Academy you can hear people shouting at him: ‘Gaun yersel pal.’

“It’s not quite the same but it’s a bit similar for Laura. She comes back and doing something familiar to her, something she did before she was famous type of thing and something she enjoys and gives back a bit to her fans. So for her it’s not really an essential part.”

His observation in passing that she could also have taken a lot more in sponsorship income but for principled unease regarding commercial relationships she does not want to align herself with, only further reinforces the sense that the more we find out about Muir the more there is to like. However she has clearly also been fortunate to find such a supportive and accommodating coach.

“She was asked by someone recently if she needed a PA and she said she’d already got one and pointed at me. I end up answering the emails and questions and requests,” laughed Young. “It’s a bit of a nightmare. I was looking at it this week and her calendar’s just my calendar. Mine no longer exists. So I’ve got it all marked out, what shifts she’s doing as best we can see, she she’s on nights, when she’s doing this, when she’s doing that and then plan my diary around that.

“She’s usually not finished until after six o’clock Monday to Friday even before you factor in the nights and the weekends, so the training is put back a bit later. I’m going to a conference in a week or two and I’m timing that so I won’t leave until she’s done her session because she’s on nights, so we’ll train during the afternoon then I’ll fly down to the conference a bit late. There’s a whole lot of scheduling we have to look at, but she hasn’t had a day off Monday to Friday since the week after the World Championships.”

Young knows it is necessary for her schedule to be monitored by someone who fully understands what she has taken on, so is clearly happy to keep looking to ensure that she can also get the rest required to function as an elite athlete.

“I don’t think she does much else other than work and run. I calculated that she worked 80 hours last week in the equine hospital,” he said.

“It would have been a bit of a worry combining the training with the huge amount of work and seeing how it would go, but actually she seems to be doing quite well. She was flying in training on Monday night and despite this in the whole three month period since the World Championships she’s only missed two runs I think. On one occasion a horse emergency came in, so she ended up going right through to 11.15 at night and it seemed a bit much to send her for her second run of the day at that time. The other one she was starting work at the vet school at ten to six in the morning one Tuesday, so I thought it was a bit much sending her for a 40 minute run before that.

“In terms of this race she could have been knackered, but she’s actually ahead of where she was this time last year in training doing the long stuff rather than the short, sharp stuff, so we’re able to relax a bit more on that basis. She’s moaned at me a bit about the long stuff I’m making her do, but she’s in great 5K, 10K shape at the moment and obviously that’s not what we’re going to race next year. It’ll be 1500 at the World Indoors, so it was a concern the huge amount of hours, but it’s going quite well and there are no particular side effects as such.”