So how does this work? Tell me more.

Does the hint of spring in the air have you excited to get outside and get moving? It might be just the right time to try running for fitness and recreation! Are you looking for some support and friendship on your journey? Perhaps even some accountability, helpful coaching and encouragement to complete your first 5k? Moms on the Run can help you train for your very first race or improve your speed, endurance and fitness level as a runner, all while having fun with new friends!

Minnesota is the original home of Moms on the Run, which has now branched out into 27 locations in 3 states in the last 5 years. Read on to find out what makes MOTR unique and why it is growing so fast!

Why is Moms on the Run different?
Unlike other exercise classes, we combine an effective workout program with a fun and supportive social environment. And unlike other running clubs, we offer an educational structure and interval programs that cater to all levels, even those who are brand new to running. Our tagline ‘Fitness, Fun, & Friendship’ really does ring true. For most women the desire to get in shape is what brings them to the group, but it is the bonds and friendships developed along the way that really keep them involved and help them be successful. To find out how MOTR is different this year than in past years, please read on to the next blog.

How is class structured?
The class involves around 30 minutes of cardiovascular interval work preceded by a dynamic warm-up and followed by a walking cool-down. Strength training and stretching exercises finish out the class hour for toning and injury prevention.The structured progression of intervals is a safe, gradual way to build up endurance for running a 5k.

What if I’ve never run before?
Moms on the Run is designed just for you! Our beginner program is really aimed at ladies who have never run before (or have been away from running for some time). The 18-week program progresses slowly, starting with manageable run/walk intervals and progressing over the summer to a full 5k. Each runner is encouraged to go her own pace and take things at her own speed.

How does the program work with runners at different speeds?  There are a variety of workout schedules available and each participant is encouraged to run at her own pace. Don’t worry, there will likely be someone who shares your pace. We all start running at the same time and turn around after the same number of intervals; this allows us to all finish as a group as well. The interval structure encourages runners to increase their speed, while the distance training option improves endurance as the season progresses.

How can I get involved?
Visit www.MomsontheRun.com for more information. On the website you can choose the city and program in which you are interested in participating. Spring registration is currently open with an early bird discount through April 5th.

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Have a Vacation Run

I remember a day when I felt vacations were a great excuse to take the week off from workouts. Now since becoming a mom and feeling my workouts are the most sane part of my day, I think vacations are for working out as much as possible!

So think twice before saving suitcase space by leaving out your running shoes. There’s nothing quite as fun as a vacation run!

Give yourself permission to have no expectations. Give up the preoccupation with pace and distance in favor of an exploratory adventure. Keep the GPS map for safety, but determine your route as you go. Feel Free!

This morning I did have a distance goal, as I’m training for the Women’s Half just a month away.  All else was up in the air! Here’s a play-by-play of my workout today, or should I say “mile by mile.”

Mile 1.  This feels great!  Wait a minute, 8:30 pace?  I’d better slow down if I’m going to make it 9 miles!

2. We don’t have hills like this at home!  I find great comfort in knowing what goes up must come down. I smile in anticipation of my final mile back into the campground.

3. I’ve never run on such a busy highway before!  The next back roads I can duck into can’t come soon enough.

4. This highway stretch is longer than it looked on the map! I find myself alternating between the loose gravel on the side to save my shins and the concrete on the road to save my ankles.

5. Off the highway! I finally made it to Lazy Road. More and more hills; nothing lazy about it! I imagine that final downhill mile and it keeps me going.

6. I am in the middle of nowhere. I take to the center of the road to avoid the slant.

7. The heat hits hard. No shade, no breeze, it’s now 95 degreew with the heat index…. but the last mile is all downhill! So I press on.

8. This farmer won’t mind if I take a swig off his hose will he?

9.  Where’s that downhill mile… my map is wrong!  I’m supposed to be headed back into the campground but instead I’m headed back up to that concrete highway.

10. Surprise! I have to run 10 miles. I haven’t run that in 10 years. At least I’m finally on that downhill.

Success! 9 miles, no 10, check!  Another fun vacation adventure run, in the books.

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Strength: Before or After?

There are many opinions on the issue of whether to lift weights before or after your cardiovascular exercise, but the bottom line is it depends on your goals.  In general, it is always necessary to be warmed up before strength training in order for a safe and effective workout to ensue.  The warmup will reduce your risk of injury and get the blood flowing through your body. When blood delivers oxygen to your muscle cells, this actually makes the exercises you do more effective for strengthening and toning your muscles.

If your primary fitness goal is building strength or muscle, your pre-strength cardio should be limited to a brief warm-up with the majority of your cardiovascular exercise after your weights. If you are focused on improving your running, cardio fitness, or  maximizing your potential with the intervals, complete the cardio portion of your routine first while you have the most energy.

In MOTR we are focused on general toning,  improving our running and preventing injuries through our strength training.  Although we will modify as necessary for instructor and participant schedules, in general we choose to do strength after running. This increases the safety and effectiveness of our training and helps us be efficient with time and able to get the workout done in an hour. It also helps the women in our learn-to-run program have greater endurance for completing the run intervals.

Regardless of which you choose, getting your strength and cardio in on the same day is a great option for busy moms! It’s hard enough to squeeze a workout in; maximize your results when you get a chance!

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Beginnermediates, the Speedster & the Caboose

We have a growing group of women in the program who are calling themselves “beginner-mediates.”

It’s a fun term, and expresses just one example of the broad spectrum of fitness levels we are trying to reach in our program.

MOTR may have two specific interval schedules we offer, but we certainly don’t have just “two levels” of customers.  Let me introduce you to the Beginnermediates, the Speedster and the Caboose…and everything in between!

Beginnermediates

We know that for all our runners who feel they fall somewhere “in between” levels it can be challenging to pick the appropriate workout. When in doubt, at this point in the season it’s better to play it safe and follow the learn-to-run schedule, allowing yourself to run some of the “assigned” walking intervals.  The schedules are meant to create a structure but not to enforce rigid guidelines.  If you are questioning how much you should be walking/jogging/running/sprinting at this point, please talk to your coach. We are here to help! We want to give you some suggestions on how to make the workout just right for you personally. Also let us know what your goals are, because “improving your metabolism” may result in a different workout than “running your fastest 5k.”

Learn to Run modifications and The Caboose

The same flexibility goes for everyone in the learn to run program. We are so proud of you for taking a big leap of faith and joining us wherever you are at with your fitness level this spring.  Perhaps at times you will need your own plan…maybe the schedule says 2 minutes of jogging and you are feeling like 30 seconds is the challenge you need right now. That’s okay! Talk to your coach to see what she recommends.

I want to give a special pat on the back today to the “caboose!” I didn’t make that up; I visited a class last year and met a friendly gal with a great attitude who called herself the caboose for bringing up the rear at each and every class.  If this is you - You are not alone!

We have 15 locations now and each and every one of them will have a “caboose.” You are probably all about the same pace, and will find each other at some of our metro-wide events if you are in the Twin Cities. Hang in there! You are an integral part of our team and we want to help you along to your personal best.

The Speedster

And then there’s that one gal up front that us instructors can’t even keep up with! We call her the speedster and there’s usually one of these in every city too. You are an inspiration to your team, and yes to your coaches as well! We know you’ll be off having to personally push yourself through some of the tough intervals, but are thankful to have you with us for the warm-up and cool-down and love that you are out here experiencing Fitness, Fun & Friendship with us! We want to encourage you in any way we can so let us know how we can help.

We are one team!  Encouraging each other benefits everyone.   Speedster and Caboose: you have more in common than you think! Cheer along  your teammates as they improve each week, no matter what level they are at.   This keeps the energy and momentum to keep going higher for everyone.
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