Int J Sports Med 2002; 23(5): 367-373
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-33146
Training and Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Physiological and Performance Responses to a 6-Day Taper in Middle-Distance Runners: Influence of Training Frequency

I.  Mujika1, 3 , A.  Goya4 , E.  Ruiz5 , A.  Grijalba3 , J.  Santisteban1 , S.  Padilla1, 2
  • 1Departamento de Investigación y Desarrollo, Servicios Médicos, Athletic Club de Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
  • 2Mediplan Sport, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain
  • 3Servicio de Bioquímica, Hospital de Navarra, Pamplona - Iruña, Navarra, Spain
  • 4Federación Navarra de Atletismo, Pamplona - Iruña, Navarra, Spain
  • 5Instituto de Estudios Rioganos, Logroño, Spain
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: 22. November 2001

Publication Date:
16 August 2002 (online)


The purpose of this investigation was to examine the influence of training frequency on performance and some physiological responses during a 6-day taper. After 18 weeks of training, 9 male middle-distance runners were assigned to a high frequency taper (HFT, n = 5) or a moderate frequency taper (MFT, n = 4), consisting of training daily or resting every third day of the taper. Taper consisted of an 80 % nonlinear progressive reduction in high intensity interval training. Blood samples were obtained, and 800m performance and peak blood lactate ([La]peak) measured before and after taper. Performance improved significantly after HFT (121.8 ± 4.7 vs 124.2 ± 4.9 s, p < 0.05), but not after MFT (126.6 ± 2.8 vs 127.1 ± 2.1 s). Neutrophils (2.89 ± 0.68 vs 2.56 ± 0.61 103 × mm-3), granulocytes (3.08 ± 0.70 vs 2.77 ± 0.66 103 × mm-3), haptoglobin (79.7 ± 47.9 vs 60.7 ± 33.6 mg × dl-1), total testosterone (7.39 ± 1.67 vs 5.52 ± 0.88 µg × l-1) and [La]peak (15.5 ± 1.5 vs 14.4 ± 2.0 mmol × l-1) significantly increased with taper. [La]peak correlated with performance time before taper (r = -0.76, p < 0.05), and change in [La]peak with change in serum cortisol (r = -0.75, p < 0.05) and total testosterone:cortisol ratio (r = 0.82, p < 0.01). In conclusion, training daily during a 6-day taper brought about significant performance gains, whereas resting every third day did not. High [La]peak and a hormonal milieu propitious to anabolic processes seemed to be necessary for optimum performance.


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I. Mujika, Ph. D.

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