FASTFriday Build Up:
In conversation with… Nicole Taylor
With 2 weeks to go until race night, we caught up with FASTFriday 2019 champion Nicole Taylor, who is looking to bring her strong road race form to the track on July 9th.
Friday nights seem to suit Nicole, who comes into FASTFriday having recently run a new 5K PB of 15:53 on the road at Friday Nights Under The Lights in Battersea Park.
“I was really happy with that 5k on the road. I felt like that was the shape I was in, if not better to be honest.”
Taylor won FASTFriday 10,000m in 2019, finishing in a track record 33:31, but admits she was a bit surprised to come away with the victory.
“It was so unexpected, especially to be alongside class athletes like Tracy Barlow and Naomi Taschimowitz. I knew I was in shape, but wasn’t sure what kind of shape, especially for the 10k.
“One of my goals of all time was to get the England Teddy! I’ve been running since I was 13 or 14, and when I used to see athletes getting the Teddy I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing’, and it was always an ambition of mine. It was great to tick that off, the whole night had just an amazing atmosphere, it was one of my top five running achievements definitely.”
Taylor struggled with injuries through the last year but suggests that being injured through a period when there were not many races available wasn’t all bad.
“In a funny way I was kind of fortunate to be injured [through lockdown] because it meant I had time for different focuses. The gyms were shut which made training really hard, I relied on circuits, core exercise, and I invested in an exercise bike, which helped massively through the injury. The injury kind of came at the right time, not to feel that guilt of not being able to race”
Taylor, who runs for Tonbridge AC, credits her training partners for helping her progression back from injury to the form she finds herself in now.
“I'm really fortunate, we've got such a lovely training group, everyone's really supportive. Before COVID-19, we used to be split into different groups, everyone got tailored into like Group A, B, C, D etc. Whereas now, we're kind of just one group. We work together on reps, we try and share the load so that we're not always leading, or not always like tailing at the back.
“It's definitely helped, and it's given me confidence as well, I think sharing the work with everyone helps to build confidence. It's very enjoyable in a training environment.”
Taylor just missed out on the British Championships this weekend, falling 6 seconds short of the qualifying time for the 5000m in Manchester.
“I was quite disappointed, I think I'm more than capable of running the qualifying time (16:10). My qualification race was the only 5000m I’ve run on the track this year and it just didn't click on the day. It just gives me more drive for the rest of this season and to get it next year.”
But this allows her to focus on her preparations for Walthamstow and looking ahead to this year’s race, Taylor has set herself high targets.
“I’ve worked closely with my coach, looking at my training recently, and we've made it a lot more 10k specific. We were kind of going along the 3k and 5k training initially, but I really wanted to focus on the 10.
“I'd like to get as close to my 2019 time, looking at around the 33:30 mark. I think I'm capable of more, but I would be really happy with that.
“The field looks stacked so it could be a quite tactical race. I'm just going to go with it, I really want to defend my title. You've got some quality athletes in there, I will just have to try hold on for dear life.”
Photos by Nigel Bramley
FASTFriday Race Programme: FASTFriday July 9th Walthamstow track