TAPER SHOULD BE LOW VOLUME
Banister, E. W., Carter, J. B., & Zarkadas, P. C. (1999). Training theory and taper: Validation in triathlon athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 79, 182-191.
This paper combined both theory and cross-validation from a field experiment. Four different taper profiles: step reduction vs. exponential decay and fast vs. slow exponential decay were simulated in a training systems model for 28 days of training.
Simulation showed that an exponential taper was better than a step-reduction taper and a fast-exponential taper was better than a slow-exponential taper. Field trials tested the theoretical implications using male triathletes (N = 11) as Ss. The exponential taper was associated with greater improvements in cycle ergometry than the step-reduction taper, but not in a 5-Km run. A fast exponential taper was associated with greater improvements in cycle ergometry than a slow exponential taper, but not in a 5-km run. It was suggested that the volume and period of training were not great enough to produce a significant performance change in the 5-Km run.
The step-reduction taper reduced average training volume to 78%. The fast-exponential taper reduced average training volume to 35% and the slow-exponential taper reduced the average to 50%.
Implications. The practical quantification of a fast-exponential taper is difficult. However, it does imply that it is best to do the following over a 14-day period.
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