With the rising popularity of exercise programs like CrossFit and Px90 and the endless efforts to promote Wii Fit (Nintendo) or Zumba Fitness (Xbox 360, Wii, PS3), it’ll come as no surprise that there are dozens of fitness apps designed to transform smart phones into athletic supporters. But with over 50,000 downloads, Zombies, Run! 5k Training leads the pack as aspiring runners complete missions, avoid zombies, and otherwise get into shape.
Like Zombies, Run!, Zombies, Run! 5k Training was designed by Six to Start to encourage non-runners to get up off the couch and out into the street. Over a period of eight weeks, runners listen as a serialized story interrupts their play list to give them updates about Able Base and the residents who are working together to simply survive after the Zombie outbreak. Each week a new pattern of running drills are introduced. And while the storyline advances with each workout, each individual week’s run is repeated three times.
When writing a review, a good reviewer usually hides far behind the words so readers can focus on the book or movie. But when it comes to a fitness regime like the Zombies, Run! 5k Training, it might be nice to know if the reviewer is a total jock with zero percent body fat and a college education paid for by track and field scholarships. I wish that was me. My sport in high school was chess. In college I lettered in synchronized smoking, solo schedule juggling, and power drinking. Now in my thirties, I have the body of Simon Pegg and the hair of Hugh Jackman. Running has always been against my religion. Let me repeat this: Neither I nor my flat feet have ever found anything worth running for.
By the end of the first week I was hooked. By the end of the third, addicted. While the voice acting ranges from hammy to spot on, it was the running drills that sold me. Beginning with a 10 minute brisk walk, 10 sets of 15 seconds running followed by a minute walk, and ending with a 10 minute free form, week one had me sweating but not dying. The progression into week two upped the effort just enough to make it interesting. And by week three, my total distance had already passed five kilometers—now I’m working on stamina and speed.
There should be more to this review. There should be pages dedicated to the health benefits of moderate running. There should be a personal account about the first time I heard a zombie sneak up on me. There should be… Well, there should be a lot of things but right now the sun is out, and just enough time for a run before I settle in for a zombie marathon.
Joseph Thompson’s work has appeared in several publications including Foreword Reviews, Greenman Reviews, and Aphelion Webzine.