IT may have been Laura Muir who grabbed the majority of the headlines in 2017 but she is not the only athlete in her training group who is making her presence felt on the international scene. Jemma Reekie has had a remarkable 2017, beginning the year with the goal of merely making the GB team for the European under-20 Championships but finishing it as European 1500m champion. When you consider that Muir also had a hugely impressive year, which included winning double gold at the European Indoor Championships in January before missing out on a podium place by the finest of margins at this summer’s World Championships, it would be easy to assume that the pair’s improvement has come from their coach, Andy Young, having them slogging their way round the track for hours on end.

In fact, the surprising revelation from Reekie is that she and Muir, as well as the rest of their training group, are very much adhering to the less-is-more strategy. “We only do two track sessions a week and then we do one grass session but other than that, it’s all recovery runs,” she told Herald Sport at the launch of the ‘Girls Do Sport’ campaign in Glasgow yesterday. “People think we’re on the track every single day but we’re really not. The hard sessions are so intense, though. Before training, I have to psych myself up because I know I’m going to have to go absolutely flat out. After the session, I’m really done in – me and Laura are both on the floor and if we’re not, Andy will say that we mustn’t have worked hard enough.”

It is a training programme that is clearly working, with Reekie proving herself to be one of the most promising young athletes in the country. In addition to becoming European Under-20 champion, the Kilbarchan AAC athlete ran a series of personal bests this summer in every distance from 800m up to 3000m and she credits much of her improvement to joining Young’s group in 2015. Reekie has recently become a full-time athlete which has allowed her to focus on the small but vital things like rehabilitation exercises and increased rest that are necessary to continue her ascent up the ranks. It has, though, been the opportunity to train alongside Muir, one of the world’s best, for the past couple of years that has been the real game-changer.

“The main thing I’m learning from Laura is about attitude – my attitude has improved a lot since I began training with her,” the teenager said. “I’ve matured a lot. And training alongside Laura is really tough – she works so hard but I enjoy that side of it.”

One of the most valuable lessons Muir has taught Reekie is how to bounce back from disappointment. When Reekie finished in fourth place in the 3000m at the European Under-20 championships earlier this summer, there was a danger the disappointment could scupper her chances of success in the 1500m the following day. However, the advice imparted from Muir during their time training meant the teenager was able to rebound in a way that she believes she would not have done 12 months previously. “If my fourth place at the had been a year before, I’d have been upset all night but this year, as soon as the 3k was over I was like right, come on – let’s get on with this,” she said. “Since I started training with Laura, I’m much better at moving on to the next thing. When you’re young, you think people like Laura don’t ever lose but they do. She’s had to come back from some big disappointments and that’s helped me learn how to do that too.”

Such has been Reekie’s improvement over the last year, she has had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the great and the good of athletics, most notably at a Stateside training camp earlier in the year.

“Mo Farah was there – we were walking down to the track and he said 'hi' to me and I had to try so hard to play it cool,” she laughs. Observing the superstars of the sport at such close quarters has convinced Reekie that she has what it takes to move into the senior ranks successfully and knowing that she is following the same training plan as that which has taken Muir to the top of the world has boosted her confidence significantly. “Watching people like Mo and Laura in training – you see what they’re all doing and it’s nothing different, it’s just that they work really hard,” she said. “That’s why I’m so happy in my training group – I’m not worried about anything because I know I’m doing the right things.”

Reekie will make an assault on the cross-country circuit this winter as she attempts to qualify for the British team for the European Cross-Country Championships but having narrowly missed out on selection for Team Scotland for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, her next major target is making her Olympic debut in 2020. “Looking ahead to next year, I just want to get quick times – and I want to race abroad more often to build up my experience,” she said. “It’s only just over two-and-a-half years to Tokyo now which is terrifying, but it’s also really exciting. In 2020, I’ll be young for the Olympics but I feel like could make it, so I’m really up for trying to get there.”