How to train for the apocalypse: the Zombies, Run! app
The Zombies, Run! runner's app for iOS, Windows and Android combines smart elements of zombie fandom and serialized storytelling with data and gameplay geekery to try and prepare us for a real-life Walking Dead.
Many who follow shows like Walking Dead, or imagined themselves in the superlative storytelling found in World War Z and Feed (The Newsflesh Trilogy) think that if they were in the same place as the characters, they'd perform better under pressure. But if push came to shove and you really had to run from zombies, would you be able to?
That's where the app Zombies, Run! becomes intriguing - for me, anyway. The app (available for AppleiOS, Windows and Android) has cleverly combined well-written serialized storytelling and an app for prompting and tracking running to create a task-oriented zombie apocalypse adventure that will actually get you to run.
You can also walk the chapters, but when you hear the moans of zombies in your headphones... You'll probably feel like you should really run.
You are a runner. A township community needs you to go after supplies, weapons, get recon, find missing people, chase 'traitors' and more.
You're given missions to complete - and don't worry, picking up supplies as you run is a matter of designated running (not actually stopping to bend over and pick up or carry things in real life).
In the audio simulation, you're 'fitted' with a camera and headset and you're given instructions - or warnings of zombie hoardes around the corner - as you run missions on the streets of your own town.
Each mission lasts 30-40 minutes, and you can play music from your own playlist in the background if you want to make your own Run, Lola Run soundtrack, or if you want some Lady Gaga remixes as your end-of-the-world soundtrack.
Zombies, Run! has a gameplay layer (and semi-MMPORG element) if you want to engage further with the app. Users can create a Zombielink account and track their stats. Zombielink syncs your running data; users can view their run logs and stats, calories burned, how fast you ran from zombies at a given moment, and recaps of your run activity with events in the storyline.
The app shines in making running and training at a varied pace over different terrains into something more exciting than your ususal routine.
For those interested in prepping for live-action running events in cities such as Journey To The End Of The Night (a "street game") or the UK's Zombie Evacuation Race, it could be an excellent way to get ready for goal-oriented runs that involve chasing and being chased.