Posted January 16, 2014 07:16 pm - Updated January 16, 2014 07:43 pm

Running and Yoga, a Perfect Combination

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You might be following a program that says you should be doing 8-mile runs at this point. Feeling stressed out because you've barely cracked 6?


Stay calm and keep running!


Get back on track, increase your mileage this week and you'll be OK on race day.


I asked Moniqua Acosta-Heyman, a mom, educator and yoga instructor about her training routine. She's very busy, yet still manages to find the time to train.


Here's what she told me in an email about her training schedule.


"I try my best to follow a training routine when I’m training for a half, but sometimes life gets in the way and I default to just getting the miles in.


I often vary how I work out my training, either focusing on getting in a certain number of miles for the week, or setting a minimum mileage for each of my runs. I will almost never run less than 4 miles when training."


Moniqua, an Augusta runner who completed her first 5K in 2010, didn't train much for her first Augusta Half Marathon. She describes her training as "pretty slack", running no more than 6 miles during her longest run.


"I was pretty much done by the time I reached the end. I may not have been that way if I had run longer distances during training."


She has learned a lot since that first race. She now puts in the training mileage needed to finish a race, with energy to spare.


She doesn't have a specific routine. She runs on a treadmill, lifts weighs, runs intervals and hills, and performs yoga.


Moniqua explains that yoga is "a full body and mind workout that trains your muscles to be stronger, your brain to focus, and your will to be solid. It’s also an awesome way to learn good breathing techniques that can definitely help in your running. "


"Lots of people think yoga is just about flexibility, and it’s really not. It’s about strength, balance, and focus, and that’s why it’s applicable to anything, even running."


There are three yoga moves she recommends for runners: Lizard (a deep lunge with forearms on the ground), Pigeon (a hip-opening pose) and Cobbler Pose (soles of the feet together with torso folded forward).


Moniqua has completed four half-marathons (two in Augusta and two in Savannah) and will be running her first marathon next month.






Running hills is a great way to improve endurance and strengthen your legs. You'll need plenty of hill training before race day.


Run up the hill, turn around and walk down slow enough, and long enough, to catch your breath. Repeat eight times (if you can).


It may take a couple of weeks to get used to running hills. Be sure to keep your body straight. Don't bend at the hips. Shorten your stride and go as slow as you need to make it up the hill. Walking is not allowed. It is supposed to be hard. It's a workout.


Some of my favorite area hills are:


- Julian Smith Casino, Augusta. Run down Broad Street along Lake Olmstead to the top of the hill at Milledge Road. If that's too steep, run from the Julian Smith Barbeque Pit on Milledge Road to Broad Street. You'll be running that road on race day, so get used to it.


- Savannah Rapids Pavilion parking lot in Martinez. Run the Augusta Canal towpath and finish your run up the steep parking lot to the main entrance on Evans to Lock Road. The more difficult side is the road along the Savannah Rapids Visitor Center. The (slightly) gentler slope goes from the canal bridge near the dock to the top, but it's still tough.


- The North Augusta Greeneway. Take the Greeneway from the Hammond's Ferry area along the Savannah River and head west. The path curves north where you will run into "the hill".


- Georgia Avenue and West Avenue, North Augusta. These are long, tough hills. Take your pick. Either road will provide a heart-thumping workout.