EILISH McColgan is unlikely to look back on 2020 all that fondly. The Scottish middle-distance runner has been gearing up for Tokyo 2020 only for the Games to be postponed until next year, and has suffered the added heartbreak of the death of her pet dog.

The 29-year-old from Dundee is currently holed up in Flagstaff, Arizona, after travelling out early to train for what would have been her third Olympics. She will now need to wait another year before representing Great Britain in the land of the rising sun, but is adapting well to the unique challenges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with her partner Michael Rimmer, McColgan has not been resting during her period of isolation and is still maintaining the demanding training routines that accompany professional athletes. And while she admits that her current situation is a somewhat changed, she is doing her best to make the most of a troubling situation.

“It’s a little bit strange,” she said. “It’s obviously not the training camp that we had planned. We came out a little bit earlier because the weather in the UK had been so bad and, unfortunately, our dog had passed away as well so we made the decision to come out earlier and get away from the house for a little bit. We never knew it would end up the way it has done.

“The British team were due to come out next week but that’s been cancelled. We’re almost stuck out here, we’re not sure what’s going on.

“At the moment it’s just me and my boyfriend Michael. Flagstaff is a hub for runners, it’s a really big athletics community and athletes from all over the world come here. There were a few Polish athletes here last week but everyone has gone home now so there really is just myself, Michael and a couple of dotted runners from around the world.

“Everyone is in the same situation, wondering if we get to go home or if we should hold on here. But it has been quite calm here, maybe because we are quite isolated anyway. As runners, we go on trails and you might run 10 miles and not see another runner. All the gyms, restaurants, bars, cinemas, all of that has shut. It is progressing but we’re hoping that we can continue running outside, social distancing and continuing to train, then for the time being we would like to try and stay put. And continue as normal a routine as you can.”

McColgan readily admits that the postponement of the Olympics is a sizeable hurdle to overcome for all of the athletes that were planning on competing in Tokyo. Her entire training schedule – and professional life – is based around preparing for the next event. So when that is no longer on the horizon, it can take a little time to adjust.

“It’s a really difficult one to get your mind around,” she said. “All your training, all the training camps that you have scheduled, everything has that end goal of peaking at the Olympic Games.

“I know that I have to do X amount of races over different distances throughout the year in order to get my speed, my endurance, and get everything right for when that championship comes.

“There is that sense of, ‘What am I training for?’ I’m out here in Flagstaff, I’ve spent a lot of time away from home, I’ve spent a lot of money to come out here but with no real end goal. I’m fortunate that I love running so it’s not like my love for the sport changes.

Eilish McColgan was speaking to Andy Blow, founder of Precision Hydration, a company that helps athletes perform at their best by personalising their hydration strategy. Find out more at www.precisionhydration.com.