TOBY Bedford has kicked off his pre-season in the best way he knows how – with some gut running.

The 19-year-old placed second in Melbourne’s 3km time trial around The Tan on Monday morning, impressing his coaches and teammates ahead of a big summer.

“To be honest, I was just trying to catch Nibbler (Alex Neal-Bullen), but he was too quick in the end,” Bedford told Melbourne Media.

“But yeah, I’m pretty happy with it.”

Bedford, who was selected with pick No.75 in the 2018 National Draft, is a lively small forward who is looking to bring some speed to the Demons’ side in the coming years.

“I was a strong runner growing up and before I came into the draft, so it’s just something I work hard at and use it as a strength,” he said.

“I probably like my pace a bit more to be honest, but I do like my endurance as well.”

The first-to-four-year Demon players returned to training three weeks ago, with Bedford already getting plenty of additional sessions under his belt, but he says things have ramped up significantly this week.

“The older boys have come back, so I think we’ve jumped up about 20 percent from the last couple of weeks, so it’s been quite hard,” he said.

“It is [daunting] but it’s also a bit exciting to see how fit we can get and how strong we can get going into the season.”

Bedford’s hard work began over his off-season break and he says it has helped prime him for what’s to come.

“I put on a few kilos over the break but still covering the ground pretty well so I’m happy with how I’ve come back,” he said.

“We had a program to do – gym and running – so I got that done and I’m pretty happy with how I went.”

Bedford’s yet to make his senior debut, but after playing 21 games in the VFL in 2019, the youngster has built a strong platform for himself heading into his second season.

“I was happy with how I went,” he said.

“I started a bit slow but [towards the] end of the season I feel like I played some good football, so hopefully I sneak a game in, or two, this year.”