Let’s face it, unless you’re a 6-year-old, running is probably not at the top of many busy moms’ things-to-do-just-for-fun list.

Even with the best of intentions it can be hard to get motivated enough to leave the house when it’s 40 below. Add to that the demanding daily routine many mothers face and motivation might quickly be replaced by a bowl of ice cream and an episode or three of Downton Abbey.

That’s where Moms on the Run comes in. Moms on the Run is a national program offering motivation and education through organized running classes. The program promises to help women “run their first 5K, improve speed and endurance, or stay motivated in their walking routine,” with classes available for walkers and beginning and intermediate runners.

Costs for the classes range from $189 for a 20-class pass to $259 for three classes per week for 18 weeks.

Como Park resident Katie Keenan, a lifelong runner and a busy mom of three young girls, is the local franchise owner of Moms on the Run St. Paul, with locations in Como Park and Highland Park. Keenan is a former ESL teacher who wanted to stay home with her girls. She was looking for a job she could do while spending as much time as possible with her family, when she began coaching a newly formed Moms on the Run group in Como. After a year of coaching classes, she purchased the Como Park franchise, and later, the Highland Park location.

With an undergraduate degree in community health and a passion for healthy living and exercise, Keenan is a big believer in the Moms on the Run philosophy of “Fitness, Fun and Friendship.”

“I love that every body type, style and ability level is represented in our classes,” she said. “This is about becoming a healthier version of who you already are.”

If you haven’t run a day in your life or you are training toward a longer race, there is a class for everyone. Additional coaches work in each class to lead the various ability levels so that every member gets the attention and support they need. And the program is open to all women, not just moms, Keenan is quick to point out.

Participation in the class offers accountability and a sense of community that encourages women and pushes them to reach personal goals, explained Keenan. In addition to having fun and getting in shape, participants learn about better nutrition, receive advice from certified fitness instructors and physicians, participate in social activities like Ladies Night Out (this involves less running and more wine) and gain a sense of accomplishment from reaching their individual goals.

With Keenan’s support, women form healthy lifelong habits, gain more energy and reduce their stress levels. Keenan’s classes focus on interval training to increase cardiovascular fitness and maximize metabolism benefits. While running a race is not required, the class does participate in a Mother’s Day 5K around Lake Como, which Keenan called “our kick-off to the summer season” race.

“You can run, walk, or cheer,” she said. “It’s just fun to participate and it’s very motivating.”

Additionally, the class joins the Officer Shawn Silvera Memorial Run at Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton to end their season in August.

Moms on the Run’s hour-long classes include a warm-up, running and walking intervals for beginners, speed intervals for intermediates, strength and toning exercises, stretching and a cool down. Keenan focuses on injury prevention, good running form, strength building and overall health education.

The group meets twice a week, while those training for longer distances can also take a distance class on Thursday evenings to log in more miles. Keenan offers several packages, including the Twice Per Week package, which she recommends for women who are serious about improving their running.

Registration is currently open, and while prices go up after March 31, Keenan encourages women to ask about discounts and payment options.

“I love helping busy women challenge themselves and reach their goals while having fun,” Keenan said. Keenan is living her dream, and sharing her passion for better health with the women of St. Paul.

To find out more, you can email Keenan at stpaul@momsontherun.com. Alex Lodner is a freelance writer who lives in the Como Park neighborhood. She has written for Minnesota Monthly, Taste, the Northern Traveler, TCJewFolk and more.

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