It's a new year, and you, as with many others, may have set yourself up with a health/exercise resolution.
I, too, want to be healthier, increase my fitness and lose some weight, but I get bored easily, especially when on my own. I recommend a workout buddy who will encourage you to push your limits, as well as give you that push to just GO, but what about those times when your workout buddy is unavailable, and you need to get out and walk/jog/run/bike anyway? Why can't exercise be more like gaming? Enter Zombies, Run!
Zombies, Run! is an iOs and Android app, created by Six to Start with Naomi Alderman, that tracks your running via steps taken or GPS location. It also incorporates your own playlists, and, oh yeah, puts you smack dab into a post-zombie apocalypse as a runner for Abel Township, a small group of survivors in England who rely on runners such as yourself to retrieve food and supplies from the surrounding areas.
Each time you workout, you are sent on a mission (available in thirty or sixty minute increments) and various characters back in Abel talk to you via ‘radio'. Through these characters, you learn the details of your mission, the history of the apocalypse, or just hear reminiscences of ‘how it used to be' (in a recent mission, I was tasked with bringing back USB drives full of entertainment: movies, music, books and television shows from ‘before', including the entire run of Doctor Who, much to the radio operator's delight). In between radio transmissions, you'll hear music from your assigned playlist. And as you run, a robotic voice informs you each time you've picked up something to help level-up your town: clothing, food, electronics, weapons, and medical supplies.
But what about the zombies? Zombies are sprinkled throughout the missions: sometimes you're on a rescue mission and hear muted zombie moans as those in distress call for your help. Other times, you yourself are in danger, the zombies are loud, and you and your team are urged to RUN. Not enough thrill for you? You're in luck, then: Zombies, Run! lets you run intervals in the form of zombie chases.
Zombie chases are available only in GPS mode, as the app tracks your speed during those chases. While being pursued, you must speed up and keep that speed up for a whole minute in order to escape. The same robotic voice that tells you when you've picked up supplies informs you that zombies are nearby, and a helpful if terrifying beeping begins. It starts out slow, but as the zombies near, the beep's frequency increases….and then you hear the moans. If you are caught (and I have been), you lose some of those supplies you've picked up. You are also rewarded with really loud, really creepy zombie groans in stereo. I do not recommend running zombie chases when exercising at night, as even at a well-lit track, with many people around, it was very unsettling!
Zombies, Run! costs $7.99, comes with about 30 missions, with updates coming often, and is available through the iTunes store, Google Play, and on Windows phones. I've been using this app for about six months, and it's made my experience as a 30-something, brand-new runner absolutely delightful. And, as I run alone just one to two times a week, I'm only on mission 19, so I've plenty of excitement ahead!
We give the Zombies, Run! app five stars.