Shepley, B. J., MacDougall, J. D., Cipriano, N., Sutton, J. R., Tarnapolsky, M. A., & Coates, G. (1992). Physiological effects of tapering in highly trained athletes. Journal of Applied Physiology, 72, 706-711.

After eight weeks of training, male middle-distance runners (N = 9) were assigned to one of three different 7-day tapers: a high-intensity low-volume taper, a low-intensity moderate-volume taper, or a rest-only taper. After the first taper, Ss resumed training for four weeks and then underwent a second taper. After a further four weeks of training, the remaining form of taper was experienced. Performance was measured by a treadmill run to fatigue at a velocity equivalent to each S's best 1500-m time. Strength of the quadriceps and VO2max were also measured.

VO2max was unaffected by any form of taper. Performance improved most (+22%) under the high-intensity low-volume taper. The low-intensity moderate-volume taper improved performance by a modest +6%, while the rest-only taper was associated with a -3% performance deterioration.

Implication. Taper programs for endurance performance are best structured as high intensity with low volume.

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