COMING on in leaps and bounds is, to great irony, an unfamiliar occurrence for a high jumper. It’s the small increments, the minor adjustments, that push any hopeful gradually into the ranks of contenders. Repetition and repeat ad nauseum.

“It became a chore,” Jayne Nisbet confirms. “I’d totally fallen out of love with it. When I’d go to training every day, I was feeling ‘ugh’. I didn’t have that get-up-and-go and I’d always said if I got to that point, I’d have to step away. I wasn’t getting anything out of it. And I’d got to a level where I’d used all the knowledge I could.”

There wasn’t a single moment where the six-time Scottish champion determined to pack up her kit and walk away. The decline was avowedly gradual. But as she limped out of Hampden Park last summer, having finished 10th at the Commonwealth Games, the journey appeared to have reached an inevitable conclusion.

A bronze medallist in UK championships with a sideline in modelling, Nisbet was still pushing uphill even at her athletic pomp. A battle with bulimia was but one factor in the physical strains. “I had illnesses and stomach ulcers and that was all brought on from the eating disorder because that’s what I put my body through,” she confirms.

“Or in 2010, with tendinitis, that was because I wasn’t recovering well and putting on weight and losing it. But my last few injuries later, the back was an accident and my foot went. At some point, when you’re a jumper, your body’s going to break down because of the force you put through it. I’d had quite a good run but then it got to the point I couldn’t do it any more.”

Or, so she thought. During her hiatus, running brought unexpected invigoration. Only the foolish and the hardy savour slogging through mud in the winter but it became Nisbet’s addiction of choice. Recalling Glasgow 2014, one image stuck, one performance inspired. “I was watching Lynsey Sharp giving everything to get over that finish line,” she says of her fellow Scot’s 800m silver, only hours after serious illness. “I thought: ‘I want something like that, where I put everything into it and just go.’”

Barely 12 months on from her recalibration, Nisbet will turn to cross-country in tomorrow’s Scottish Short Course Championships in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park with more than a casual intent after coming 18th in September’s Great North Run in her half-marathon debut. “That was such a huge shock,” she giggles. “I’m still getting my head around that.”

Building a career in personal training, she is now passing on her jumping expertise to Commonwealth Youth Games champion Niamh Emerson. Next weekend in Derbyshire, she will thrust into a second half-marathon with a plan to progress further still. “I want to take it as far as I can,” she adds. “I’m not sure where that is, whether it’s a Commonwealth Games or something else.” It will be a pleasure, certainly, but never a chore.