Operation Horsemill: Mid-Study Assessment Results

After 4 weeks of banging out the treadmill sessions sessions in Loughborough – it was time to re-assess the MCKEP lactate profiles in order to see:

  1. If these sessions were actually achieving anything
  2. If the lactate turn-point pace (i.e. the pace which dictates the session training speeds) needed to be modified for the second 4 weeks of the study
  3. Who was better.

It should be noted that the early results in this assessment were skewed to some extent by a Strava ‘segment chasing’ warmup – which Simkiss won – but technical faults courtesy of Garmin ensured all records of Simkiss’ efforts were lost.

Without further ado – we’ll skip the raw data… (because we can’t think of anything to say about it), and move straight onto the ever-so-interesting chart.

Horsemill Mid Study Assessment

Chart shows pre-study assessment (solid line) against mid study assessment (dashed line), for Simkiss (Red) and McCarthy (Blue).

The first obvious thing to realise is that it was decided the athletes were too good (on this occasion) to bother running at 13kmh – so assessment started at 14kmh. McCarthy was still full of lactate from the ‘warmup’ run, explaining his initial drop in lactate levels.

The next thing to notice is that Chris (having lost the warmup battle) was intent on redeeming himself and threw down the gauntlet of an extra 3min stint at 19kmh at the end of the assessment – just because he’s the master of 1% incline running (having spent the past 4 weeks training with a 1% incline). Simkiss on the other hand struggled like f#ck… but had little choice but to complete the 19kmh stint to prove McCarthy had nothing on him – and complete it he did (just), although the numbers suggested the ‘sub maximal’ test wasn’t far off being a maximal effort for our fat-thigh’d warrior.

Movement of the curves downward and/or a shift to the right is a good thing… both athletes lactate profiles have shifted a similar amount. Simkiss’ heart rate has dropped notably more though since the initial studies… this is presumably related in some way to Valentines day falling between assessments.

Diff Rich
Lactate threshold (km/h) 15 16 1 15 15 0
Lactate threshold (min/mile) 06:26.2 06:02.1 00:24.1 06:26.2 06:26.2 00:00.0
Lactate turnpoint (km/h) 17 17.5 0.5 17 17.5 0.5
Lactate turnpoint (min/mile) 05:40.8 05:31.1 00:09.7 05:40.8 05:31.1 00:09.7
Economy (at 16km/hr) 61.6 53.6 -8 60.5 62.6 2.1
Economy (mL O2 /kg/km)  205 202 -3 230 232 2

So in response to the purposes (purpii?) of the mid study assessments:

Are the sessions actually achieving anything?
Chris shifted his Lactate Threshold by 1kmh, as opposed to Simkiss’ zero improvement… although both athletes shifted their Lactate Turnpoint by 0.5kmh. Changes in economy aren’t big enough to be reported as anything significant.

Do the training paces need to be modified for the second half of the study?
Yes. By 0.5kmh.

Who was better?
The assessments show bigger gains for McCarthy… priming him for a ‘better than Simkiss’ performance at the Midland 12 Stage Road Relays… which happened a few weeks ago… and he ran slower.

The results do show that with such a promising shift in Lactate Threshold – McCarthy could indeed be in good shape for a lifetime best marathon performance… though rumours of a ‘jog round London’ have prompted calls from fans for McCarthy to speak out and clarify his intentions.




If you’re really bored… you can read more of the assessment data below.


Speed (km/h) 14 15 16 17 18 19
Speed (min/mile) 06:53.8 06:26.2 06:02.1 05:40.8 05:21.9 05:04.9
Lactate (mM) 1.2 1 1.3 2 3.3 5.9
Heart Rate (beats/min) 141 147 152 157 162 167
VO2 (L/min) 3.7 4 4.2 4.5 4.7 4.9
VO2 (mL/kg/min) 47 51 54 57 61 63
Economy (mL O2/kg/km) 202 203 201 202 203 200



Speed (km/h) 14 15 16 17 18 19
Speed (min/mile) 06:54 06:26 06:02 05:41 05:22 05:05
Lactate (mM) 0.9 1.4 2.4 3.5 5.6 9
Heart Rate (beats/min) 142 147 157 165 172 178
VO2 (L/min) 4.2 4.6 4.9 5.1 5.4 5.7
VO2 (mL/kg/min) 54 59 63 66 69 72
Economy (mL O2/kg/km) 231 236 235 232 231 229

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