“All I want,” said my wife as she was getting ready to head out for a run, “is to survive the first wave of the zombie apocalypse.” Which is as good a reason I can think of to get into shape.
As I mentioned in my review of Zombies, Run!, my actual health isn’t enough to motivate me to exercise, but imagining that a corpse is violating the laws of thermodynamics and chasing me?Well, let me get my running shoes. And for those of us who need to work up to the brisk jogging required by the dawn of the dead, there’s a training version: Zombies, Run! 5K Training.
What is it?
ZR5k is a couch-to-5k training program that takes you from having no running experience to being able to complete a 5 kilometer course (3.1 miles) over eight weeks. You do the program 3 times a week (with one or two rest days between each running day), gradually increasing the amount of time you spend running.
While doing this, you’re encouraged by the survivors of Abel Township, who need runners to gather supplies to keep their stronghold stocked against the zombie hordes. In the continuity of the original app, this game takes place between the first and second missions of Zombies, Run! and follows the same pattern; you get a bit of story, then a song, with instructions from the camp doctor about when to walk, run, and stretch.
How Does it work?
At the start of each mission, the doctor explains what the program will be. In week one, you walk for 10 minutes, then do five intervals of walking for a minute and a slow run of 15 seconds. After that you have 10 minutes of freeform where you can walk or run for as long as you like. In later sessions, the running time is expanded and additional exercises, like heel lifts after running, are added.
During the exercise you can play music through your library (streaming services aren’t supported), and the doctor will interject to let you know how much time has passed, and when to run, walk, and stretch.
Unlike the original Zombies, Run! though, this program, since it’s for training, doesn’t include randomized zombie chases, making you run unexpectedly. Though they do interject zombies as story elements, they don’t use them to alter the regimin. Also absent from this game is the collection of supplies and the base-building part of the game, though at the end of a workout, your character gets a little benny like a hot shower, a backpack, or just clean sheets.
And while the game elements are missing, one bit that’s included is the ability to sync your data with the company’s website, which lets you get details about your run, speed, calories burned (if you include your weight), and a map of your run, if you have GPS data turned on (optional).
Is it contagious?
As someone who hasn’t run since college, Zombies, Run! 5k Training has been a fun, helpful way to start getting back into shape. The voice acting is well done, always with an encouraging tone, and the sense that I’m part of a story helps keep me motivated and moving. While I miss the gameplay elements of the original app, this version is definitely more structured, and doing a better job of getting me to push myself without overexerting myself.