Running for Your Health – Zombies, Run! review

It’s been an incredibly long time since I wrote anything at all to do with the healthy side of this blog, so I thought it was about time to revisit it. I’ve been cooking, but nothing super fun or inspired or that felt worth sharing at all, so I’m not going to give you a healthy recipe today. Nope, today I talk about yet another app that gamifies one of life’s little miseries – exercising. More specifically, running.

Today, I talk about an app called Zombies, Run!

So it may come as a shock to none that I’m not a big runner. As a fairly larger-chested lady, running kind of sucks. For those of you without a bouncing bosom, feel glad for your smaller chest because that shit hurts. As such, I tend to like my physical fitness on the lower impact side of things – like yoga. Yoga’s my jam! However, as I continue on my healthy journey through life, I kind of want to expand my horizons on how I work out. After all, as any health guru will tell you, you don’t want to do the same kind of workout every day. Not only can it get boring, but it’s also not particularly good for you. And yes, while there is enough diversity in yoga that I don’t feel like a daily practice necessarily is the same as doing the same thing day in and day out, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t switch it up. After all, some days I crave a little more without necessarily whipping out the power yoga, or maybe I just want to pop some earbuds in and listen to podcasts instead of my own deep breathing. All that aside, I also have dogs who need exercise, too, and they aren’t all that great at yoga. The cat? Sure, but the dogs? Yeah, not so much.

All that is to say that I got it in my head I wanted to start trying to run. As this decision was made in the middle of summer, that meant either walking out into literal Hell-like heat or the treadmill. I think you can all guess which one I chose.

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We meet again.

Nothing against the treadmill, but it’s not exactly the most stimulating of workouts. I’ve been there, done that about a thousand times over in my life. I’ve tried basically everything, from amping up with music to having treadmill-specific shows. Every time the routine started out great but eventually fizzled away to boring, mundane, and feeling like I don’t even really knowing what I’m doing or if it’s truly affecting anything.

So while I’d been considering trying to pick up running yet again, I heard about an app called Zombies, Run! Literally all I knew was the name and that there was some sort of resource system tied into completing a run, so to the app store I went!

The basic idea behind Zombies, Run! is that there are missions you literally run (or walk) that result in earning resources as you go along, that you then use to build up your township against zombie invasion. It’s not just a collect-a-thon though, which is good because if it were I’d have gotten real bored, real quick. The missions themselves are actually tied into a story, which you unlock one mission after the other. You play the part of the voiceless and otherwise nameless “Runner 5.” You start the story as someone running a delivery mission in a helicopter when your chopper is shot down by a rocket. You then wind up taking up the mantle of the recently deceased Runner 5 of Able Township. There is a rather morally diverse cast of characters whom begin to either bond or experience strife with your character, as well as a mystery that unfolds as you continue to “play.” All this is great, but would otherwise add up to a book-on-tape if not for the aforementioned resource collection and township building. They two aspects twine together in order to create a gaming mechanism that is kind of fun, maybe slightly addicting, and a story full of intrigue that keeps me coming back. Even better, they are releasing new story content all the time.

Each mission has a time limit for how long the story portion lasts, but you can, of course, continue running past that while listening to your own music or podcasts or the like. Between the story sections of the run, you can also listen to whatever, and when the story kicks in, it actually pauses whatever you are listening to, even if it’s a video. That’s a feature I absolutely love, as I’ve missed far too much in a show before due to other audio from my phone playing over it. I’ve also yet to experience any issue with my own audio automatically restarting once the story piece is done playing, which is fabulous because who wants to fumble with their phone while running?

Genral use of Zombies, Run! is also not tied to any GPS tracking, unlike certain apps that have come out recently with a focus on getting people active.

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*coughcough*

This means you can either take it on the go or use it on a treadmill if that is more to your tastes or needs. There are certain aspects tied to GPS, but they are not necessarily integral to the use or experience. For example, I went all summer with only using it on the treadmill and not feeling as though I were missing out on any content.

Beyond the story missions, there are additional missions that serve different functions such as supply runs, which are unlimited length runs to just collect supplies for your township; races, which have you running either a 5k, 10k, or 20k in order to uncover additional story; as well as much more. I haven’t yet used these additional features, but will likely get to them at some point.

Some features are locked to pro membership only, which is their paid service. It is $2.99 for a monthly subscription and $19.99 for a whole year. On the whole, the price isn’t bad, but even still, it is in no way necessary to enjoy the majority of the content on offer. Just be prepared to have to wait longer times to unlock missions and listen to some ads as a non-paying user. It’s truly not awful though, as I don’t pay for the service and find these things to be miniscule. I would say if you are an avid runner and know you’ll get some serious use out of the app, spring for the pro membership, but if you’re just starting to try and get into running, maybe hold off to make sure this is really something you plan to stick with before shelling out the money (unless that’s your motivation; in which case, you do you!).

I can’t recommend this app enough. It makes running far more fun and engaging than I’ve ever thought it could be, and it keeps me coming back to it so that I can unfold more of the story! This is truly the perfect app for any gamer who’s looking for a way to get more active but maybe struggles with finding the motivation to keep it up.

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