Inverness Harriers coach Ross Cairns believes there may be some benefits from the wiping out of Scottish athletics fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All events – track and field, road, cross country, hill and trail races – have been cancelled until at least the end of May.
The situation will then be reviewed but the reality is that no one expects a return to normality soon.
Cairns, who coaches a group of 30 young athletes, including his son Lucas and daughter Anna, admits there are significant downsides, but believes it’s not all doom and gloom.
He said: “Some of our youngsters have missed the schools international cross country and possible appearances in the London mini marathon, but this situation has come along at the end of the winter season.
“I would normally be asking them to take a bit of time out at this time of year to enjoy some rest and relaxation before making the transition to the track season.
“So I can see this as an opportunity as much as anything else. I am trying to take a long-term development view for the youngsters.
“To be honest, there’s usually too many fixtures for them so having a three month period or longer without competition has its benefits.
“They can take the opportunity to work on weaknesses or specific issues that normally they might not have time for because there was always been a race coming along.
“They can focus on technique, running form, even a bit of strength and conditioning. I have written off the track season for 2020, but I’ll be giving the athletes regular updates on what they can be doing.
“I put training sessions on social media for them. The sessions are adapted because we can’t train as a group and don’t have access to a track.
“But I also want them just to get out and run for the sake of running and to enjoy it. It doesn’t always have to be a specific session.”
While Cairns is optimistic that the break from competition, for whatever length of time, can be looked upon in a positive manner, he admits it doesn’t come without potential pitfalls.
He said: “There’s no doubt that in our club and other clubs across Scotland, there are challenges ahead.
“Some of our group are hard into competitions while others enjoy the social side of being part of a group. So some might not do so much running if they aren’t able to do it with their pals.
“So we need to do as much as possible to keep them motivated with different sessions, and communicate with them via social media.”