Zombies Run! 5K – Attempting to get fit

Well, the scales have shouted at me again and it is time to get in shape. I have let myself go over the last few years and my body is beginning to tell me off as well!

I used to run, but always hated it. For a while I was trying to use Zombies Run! from Six to Start, however there was an assumption that you were already fit enough to run in the first place. This time, I thought I would start slow and steady with the help of Zombies Run’s baby sibling – Zombies Run 5K.

It is an app that takes you through an 8 week program that should help you get from couch potato (me) to someone who can run 5 kilometres. Obviously there is nothing all that new about this idea. What Zombies Run! adds to the equation is a narrative that helps to keep you going through the exercises.

It is not a real game as there is no choice or gameplay, it is merely a story that is happening around you as you run. It revolves around you being taken in to a “save” town (Able) after your helicopter crashes in zombie infested territory. In that respect it starts off the same as Zombies Run! However, this is more of a prequel, this follows the story of you, Runner 5, getting fit enough to become a runner for the town. You are helped on your way by two main narrators who communicate to you via your headset (earphones) and talk you through the various stages of your training.

But there is much more going on. There is a story of lost love, internal politics, desperation, survival and community. All the while there is the threat of zombies. Whilst they are never a real danger in 5K, it gives you a feel for what is to come in the full version! What is so good is just how well written and acted the story actually is. You really want to find out more – and this is where the genius lies.

To find out more, you have to do the next work out. I hate running, but I am really enjoying the story and can feel the benefit of the slowly building runs. It has taken something I really don’t like doing and has made it into much less of a chore – lowered the barrier to entry. This is core to gamification to me and a great example of how a simple, but good story, can really help any set of tasks!

Never under estimate the power of a good story folks!

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5 thoughts on “Zombies Run! 5K – Attempting to get fit”

  1. I’ve been using Zombies, Run since it first came out. Back then I couldn’t even run or jog a full lap around a track! I started using the regular ZR walking on the treadmill and the track. The ZR 5K was the one that got me running though so you’ve made a great choice by starting with that one. ZR is more fun running than walking. 🙂

    I too hated running. Never did it. Never wanted to do it. Now I run for fun. I even did a half marathon! I would never have believed that I would ever do that much less want to! I lost about 45lbs and have kept it off for about two years now. I wrote about the process as I looked at how motivation works with gamification: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2013/12/01/gaming-and-motivation/

    Cheers to you, Andrzej! I never really cared for zombies and I hated running and now I love both! ZR really works. 🙂

      • I hear you on that one. I had knee pains but my worst issues were my calves. Both injured to the point where I needed months of physical therapy. Then, after I managed to get back into running after healing both calves, I had some really bad ankle sprains, one took 6 months to heal all the way! And I’m still running! In the zombie apocalypse, you can’t stop running no matter what! 🙂

  2. Interesting focus on narrative. Would be good to different impacts (pace, heart rate, co-op) making a difference on the narrative outcomes.

    Also try one of the zombie role plays that have cropped up as I’m pretty confident that running from *actual* zombies will improve your fitness 😉 (as well as the experience)

    • In the full version of Zombies Run! There are more elements. So for instance each run has a new section of the very large narrative. As you run, you collect items that can be used back at your base. After the run, you spend a few minutes building up your based (defences, medical facilities etc). Also, you can set it to have random chases. All of a sudden the comma person starts yelling at you to run faster and you start to hear the zombies getting closer. If you fail to outrun them, you lose some of the items you have collected.


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