The Checkers Athletic Club Zero to 5K Program is designed for novice runners. Next session begins 9/23 and will be known as “Zero to Trot “.

The program offers a motivational tool to help the novice runner start physical activity, and guidance to aid in making this new activity a habit in their everyday life.

Megan Nelson, the program’s coach, went through her own Zero to 5K program six years ago. Megan lost 90 pounds, became a part-time personal trainer, and went from not being able to run past one house to completing two marathons. She wrote this program based on her experiences, successes, let downs, and hopes for helping individuals with drive and passion to be able to successfully and safely begin to run.

The program itself went through a renovation last year. Through her thesis work, Megan expanded Zero to 5K to ten weeks from eight, and involved professionals in the health and wellness field. These improvements will continue and include information on fueling your body, learning the proper way to strength train, and teaching new members ways to achieve better health.

Another improvement is continued goal-setting after initial success. This will keep you coming to track and improving yourself weekly through your runs. Track practice is held weekly at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings (April-October), in the UB football stadium at the north campus. Groups begin every 6-8 weeks during the summer, and every 10-12 weeks during the winter.

We also meet on Saturday mornings at Delaware Park for a “run on your own.” No runner is turned away from the Zero to 5K Program. If you are coming back from injury, have not run since high school, or have never run in your life, we would love to get you started.

Our goal is not to be the fastest, but to safely run our first 5K. The only cost of Zero to 5K is the basic Checkers membership (student to family rates). The track fee ($20) is waived for the first 10 weeks of membership for 7 p.m. Zero to 5K members. If you continue track practice at 6 p.m. after your initial 5K goal, the $20 track fee is charged. Members are always welcome to continue at 7 p.m. for the duration of the season (April-October).

You can contact Megan Nelson at mkaenelson@gmail.com for more information.

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