You know that advert where there’s some kind of amazing festival with everyone throwing coloured dye on each other, and it’s supposed to make you want to buy a car or a camera or something, but actually it just makes you want to run outside in a spray of yellow, purple and red, dancing around like a toddler hopped up on too much Haribo? Of course you do – how could you forget? Well, if you’re anything like me, once you have a dream in mind, you set about to find a way to make it happen. And, funnily enough, where there’s a dream, there’s usually someone ready to make that dream come true if you give them some money. To cut a long story short, earlier this month I went on the Color Run in Wembley, London. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you.
In early spring, I’m going to be motoring off with a bunch of other fine folks to take part in a crazy, mud-soaked 5k obstacle course. So, I decided, as a basic minimum, that I really should at least be able to run 5k before I get there… In comes Zombies 5k, an app I had already downloaded but never used – which sits in amongst a plethora of 5k apps that I download whenever I’m supposed to be doing Race for Life. This time, though, I’m pretty serious about making sure I prepare properly. So at the end of last month, I embarked on my first week of Zombie 5k training!
The app works with your phone (and is also available on Android) to track your distance and other fancy things, but the main feature of it that made me download was the storyline that’s woven into your progress as you run. You plug in your earphones, select a playlist from your music folder, and then in between tracks, narrators tell a story of a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse, of which you are one, who are struggling to gather supplies. As Runner 5, you are put into training to venture out and gather items, and the narrators mix together plot points and training advice along the way to make each run seem like it’s building up to make you an elite, zombie-outrunning athlete.
These are screenshots from my phone to show the information that you gather as you run – and how you progress, from a series of short bursts of running interspersed with walking, to an hour’s worth of longer runs and walks in the final week. Unless you are incredibly unfit, it should be easy to get stuck into, and it follows a fairly typical route for most 5k training programmes.
One of my favourite parts about this programme, though, is the way that it captures lots of extra info that can be viewed online if you link your app to the website, www.zombiesrungame.com.
First of all, it tracks your overall distance and time, and also breaks down the total distances for each week as you go along, as well as informing you about the major plot points you’ve encountered so far. Week one workout three was especially fun for me, as I went with my parents and their mad dogs to Royal Victoria Country Park, where not only did I get dragged through the mud by an insane mutt, but I also got to experience an exciting storyline twist when I was asked to run outside the safety of the base in order to pick up some ammo for the township!
As you can see, if you choose to share this info, the website can track your progress on a map – which is the second aspect I really like. You can see exactly where you went, and even how fast you were going at each stage – right down to your speed for each individual song!
Royal Victoria Country Park is an amazing place to run, as it covers lots of different terrains, from a pavemented seafront, to a wooded area, and even a military cemetery. And here’s an interesting fact for you: the tower is what’s left of Royal Victoria Hospital, where the fictional Dr Watson from the Sherlock Holmes stories trained as a surgeon for the army!
Somehow, my app magically synched itself to my run and had me tearing down a side route (middle left) in order to pick up the aforementioned ammo. The accompanying insane canine was very happy to pull me far beyond my normal running pace and I ended up plunging through a series of muddy puddles of varying depths… But, considering I’m training for an obstacle course, I’d say it’s all part of the programme!
I’m definitely happy to have picked this method of training, and I’ll be sure to pick up my review at a later date in order to fill you in on my progress! Crazy as I sounds, I actually look forward to my thrice-weekly runs, and it’s a combination of a well-crafted learning curve, and an interesting storyline, that are keeping me coming back for more. Visit the app store to find Zombies 5k, or head to www.zombiesrungame.com for more info.