I've tried the two week taper and the three week taper and I'm a fan of the three week taper. This topic alone generates quite a bit of debate over two vs. three weeks. The "taper" for those that aren't familiar with the marathon running term is that blissful period where most of the miles are "in the bank" from your roughly sixteen week training program and you wind down the miles to give your body a rest prior to the big race. While some aren't fond of the taper, I'm a big fan and view it as a reward that comes after approximately 500 training miles (kind of like ColdStone without the calories.)
I have what I'd call a "modified" three week taper since my last 20+ miler was last weekend. Yesterday's long run dropped down to a goal pace run of ten miles, and next Saturday will be sixteen. Sixteen is what I'd call a short long run or Army Intelligence (or pick your oxymoron.)
Yesterday's ten was in picturesque Golden, Colorado. Golden is the home of Coors Brewing Company which literally dominates yet blends in the foothills town of the small town of Golden. Our route was an out and back from Lion's Park and mirrored Clear Creek for the opening miles before running parallel to the Brewing company. Labeled as a goal pace run, it was actually a 5/4/1; five miles at a relaxed pace (Zone 1 Heart Rate,) four miles at goal pace, with a one mile cool-down. Given that I was running in the foothills area of Golden, it wasn't exactly flat and had 400+ of elevation gain and loss over the route. The middle four miles was what I was most focused on and finished with a 7:19 average pace, but better yet, maintained my heart rate in Zone's 2-3 (below 152.) The best part of the Golden run is dipping your legs in Clear Creek at the end of the run which is like nature's cold jacuzzi. Ahhh! 'Tis a privilege to live in Colorado.
This coming week has the bulk of my remaining 74 training miles with one last track training day (Yasso 800's) and the short long run on Saturday.
Prescription for the next three weeks. Rest the body, relax, and mentally prepare for Portland.