Even the world champion Astros know the value of spring training. Having an opportunity to work on basic techniques, as well as to build strength and speed, propel teams, even the best, to their annual ritual of preseason training, and runners can do the same.

Galveston Fit, a chapter of USA Fit, the nation’s largest training program for runners, begins its spring program Feb. 19. “We’re moving spring training to a new location,” program director Kim Bachmeier said. “We’ll be using the beautiful facilities at Moody Gardens. They have a really great track with excellent drainage, so, even in wet weather, we’ll be able to run safely.”

Ample parking and post-run options were also factors in making the move, along with a desire for a change of scenery. “We have people who come back every spring, and that’s great because at any level, you can still improve,” Bachmeier noted. “With a group, you’re going to push yourself a little more.”

The training group will meet at 6 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday. “The training is interval-based,” Bachmeier said. “We stay abreast of the new exercise science research, and intervals are an amazingly effective way to build fitness. One of our participants took twenty minutes off her half-marathon time.”

Throughout the program, participants are encouraged to measure their progress by running or walking in local 5Ks, culminating in the Texas Crab Festival 5K in Bolivar on May 18.

Bachmeier stressed that the spring training program has levels for everyone from completely inexperienced to the most competitive. “It’s truly for everybody,” she said. “There are levels and coaches for walkers, fitness walkers, beginning runners and the more experienced.”

The program is also open to all ages. “For parents who want to do something fun with their kids, we offer a reduced rate for school-age kids. Parents go run their pace, the kids go with an appropriate group and everybody benefits,” she said.

Registration for school-age children is $60 for the 12-week program. First-time adults pay $120, with returning participants signing up for $100. More information is available at fittrirun.com or usafit.com.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com.

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