“I’ve been talking about what I want to do for a long time, it’s time to go out there and do it now.”

Guy Learmonth has been one of Scotland’s best 800m runners for a decade but there remains a gap in his CV that he is determined to fill sooner rather than later.

Despite countless appearances for both Scotland and GB at inter-national events, Learmonth has yet to win a major championships medal.

The signs are that could soon change. The European Indoor Athletics Championships begin in Istanbul today and Learmonth is in the form of his life which has led him to seriously think about the prospect of standing on the podium this weekend.

“I feel in very good shape this year – and I feel like there’s still more to come from me. The target indoors this year is to go one minute 45 seconds but I’m not overly fussed about times because the main aim is to start picking up these medals that I’ve been after for a long time.

“I’m in a really good place and for this indoor season, I want a European medal.”

Learmonth heads to Istanbul fresh from picking up the UK Indoor title last weekend to add to his national indoor victories in 2015, 2017 and 2020.

That he is in such good shape is a welcome relief for the 30-year-old from Berwick-upon-Tweed, whose previous two seasons have been severely disrupted by Covid – he has caught it three times – long Covid, as well as injury.

But his good form perhaps comes as little surprise given he spent three months in the sunny climes of Melbourne at the end of last year.

As part of the Australian-based Fast 8 Track Club, Learmonth left the British winter behind and headed down under for what turned out to be one of his best training blocks – although not before his ego took a bit of a beating.

“Being in the group in Melbourne is the most humbling thing. For the first eight weeks in Australia, I just got destroyed in training. I was absolutely massacred,” he admits.

“PB-wise, I was faster than the other guys but I quickly realised that meant absolutely nothing and straight away I knew I had to up my game. That was such a good thing for me though – I think things had just got a little bit too comfortable for me and I needed these guys to kick my arse -- and they did that.

“And now I’ve come out the other side feeling really good.”

After a psychologically challenging spell, during which he admits he was struggling severely for motivation, he is back to his hungry, driven self.

It is just as well, with men’s middle-distance running in an era where anything less than lightning quick times are not good enough.

Learmonth is well aware that he is likely to have to improve his personal best of one minute 44.73 seconds if he is going to make an impact, and he hopes altering his training to adapt to the way the 800m is now run, will stand him in good stead this season and beyond.

“There’s been times, especially over the past few years, I just didn’t want to go there and race, I couldn’t be bothered. I was just doing it for the sake of it,” he says.

“Now though, I’m back really enjoying racing. “In the past, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself whereas now, I’m just concentrating on doing everything right and I’ll see what happens. I’ve really decided that I’m going to throw absolutely everything into this.

“Leading into this indoor season, it was absolutely all-out for me and I feel like there’s been a real mindset switch for me which will, I hope, help me reach my potential.

“The event now is this hard, hard front-running. It’s become, well and truly, a prolonged sprint really and I had to rethink the way everything was planned. Middle-distance running these days, you have to run insane times to do well.”

Learmonth will be in good company in Istanbul. Also included in GB’s 31-strong squad are three of his Scottish compatriots.

Laura Muir, already a four-time European indoor champion, will aim to make it a hat-trick of 1500m titles, while Neil Gourley, who became British indoor champion for the first time last weekend and ran the third fastest indoor mile by a Briton last month, is looking for his first major championships medal in the men’s event.

Carys McAulay, as part of the women’s 4 x 400m squad, completes the Scottish contingent.