I spent some time yesterday researching the value of the taper. There are tons and tons of articles on the Internet that tell you what to do, but very few that actually explain why. I found this gem at Runner's World that does a decent job of discussing the whys. In a nutshell:
"The primary aim of the taper should be to minimize accumulated fatigue, rather than to attain additional physiological adaptations or fitness gains."
In other words - what's done is done at this point. After 15 weeks of training, there is very little that I can do over the next three weeks that is going to enhance my physical preparation. But, push myself too hard though, and the consequence can be a Long Beach repeat - where I was dust by mile 13, or worse yet - injury. The goal now is to maintain my current level of fitness and to give my body ample time to heal before the big day.
So, over the next three weeks, I'll be doing slow easy miles. Like the 6 I did last night (10:32 pace, 73% MHR). I'm going to treat the next three weeks like a big dress rehearsal. Now that I've been through this a couple times, I know what *can* happen. Time to figure out how to recognize and fix issues before thy become big problems. Over the next few days, I'll be attacking the checklist that comprises the *rest* of taper (Oh my! What a pun!)