There’s about eight (!!!) weeks left until San Diego Comic Con 2013 and, being the neurotic ultimate planner that I am, let me share with you one of my many fears as a newbie to the con circuit: endurance. I’m jumping into the world of conventions head first at the deep end of the pool and I fear all of my researching and planning will be for nothing if I can’t hack it on the convention floor or long into the nights. When it comes to lack of sleep, I can recommend naps, caffeine and sheer willpower to get through the long days, but when it comes to physical endurance I can, hopefully be of a little bit more assistance.
Whether you’re getting ready to walk the miles and miles of floor at San Diego Comic Con, preparing for the impending zombie apocalypse or considering joining me at The Walking Dead Escape (on Friday!), I’ve got two apps for you to consider in your preparations: Zombies, Run! and the predecessor to that app, Zombies, Run! 5k Training.
I first heard about Zombies, Run! when it launched in early 2012. Born from a Kickstarter campaign – as more and more excellent products are these days – Zombies, Run! is a fitness app that provides the user with unique stories of the aftermath of an apocalypse while running. The app runs on both Apple and Android devices and gives the runner the options of completing a thirty minute run or an hour long run. It is an interactive app, with longer times giving more opportunities to pick up supplies that you can later use to fortify your base once you’ve completed your run. There is also an option to turn on or off zombie chases to make things even more realistic and heart-pounding during a workout. As always, stay safe and be mindful of your surroundings when you’re sprinting your heart out away from zombies, I’d hate to see you turned into one yourself. The app can even be linked up to an online account that tracks your stats and progress.
Then again, if you’re anything like me, jumping right into Zombies, Run! seems like a daunting task. I was the one who walked the whole mile in gym class every year and it still took 35 minutes or something ridiculous like that. Luckily for me (and you), Six to Start, the company that is responsible for the Zombies, Run! games, released a Zombies, Run! 5k Training app to help get us all up to par on our gym class mile. This is where those eight weeks conveniently come into play, as that is exactly how long it takes to complete the 5k training from start to finish.
The Zombies, Run! 5k Training app consists of 24 training sessions that each last approximately 40 minutes – that’s 3 runs a week for 8 weeks. Each session builds on the one before it, both in physical training and in the story it tells. You are training to become the new Runner 5 while learning about what happened to the old Runner 5, where the missing supplies from camp might be disappearing to, and the politics of the apocalypse. I found the story compelling and interesting, as it was my first introduction to the world that has been built across these two apps. It definitely helped to keep me motivated to get up and move because I wanted answers, I wanted to find out what happened next, and I wanted to listen to all of those awesome accents. Yes, bonus for everyone (at least the Americans) using this app, there’s British accents!
I, personally, have a lot more experience with the Zombies, Run! 5k Training app and I can’t praise it enough. It really did help get me up and moving, fueled by my zombie obsession, and I’m more in shape than I have been in a very long time. Of course no apps are perfect and I do have a few minor gripes with the Zombies, Run! and Zombies, Run! 5k Training apps.
When I first started with the 5k Training app, it was a bit buggy. There is an option to play music during the program, that fades out during the story telling parts, and sometimes my music wouldn’t start or the program would quit in the middle of a run – but it seems with updates those problems have been fixed and I haven’t experienced them nearly as often as I once did. It was hard getting pulled out of a great song or being told only thirty more seconds, only to have the app quit and you’re left floundering until you’re sure it’s definitely, totally, probably been more than thirty seconds.
My second issue is the poor tracking offered for treadmill running. There is an option to use a counter for steps taken, but I would usually set my iPhone down to run, making it impossible to track my movements. However, when I took the Zombies, Run! app outside to boldly go running where I hadn’t ever gone running before (the outdoors), the GPS tracking was absolutely fantastic and offered up some neat statistics when paired with an online account. If you’re going to try out either one of these apps, I highly suggest deviating from what I decided to do (run on a treadmill) and get outside and get some fresh air in those lungs.
So whether you’re planning for the impending apocalypse (Rule One: Cardio!), The Walking Dead Escape, or you just want to get into better shape, I recommend looking at the Six to Start app that best matches your skill-level. If you’ve finished both of these mission-oriented apps, Zombies, Run! 2 was recently released, and while I haven’t had a chance to take a look at it, it is adding even more experiences and content to an already intriguing world.