Daily iPhone App: Zombies, Run! 5k helps novices train for a 5K

In June, there is a local 5K race and I want to run in it. It's been years since I've done any serious running so I definitely have to prepare for this event. Like any good techie, I turned to my iPhone and the App Store for motivation. After searching, I stumbled on a new version of an old favorite, Zombies, Run!, that has been adapted for 5K training.

Zombies, Run! 5K is meant for the beginning runner who wants to train for a 5K. The app has 25 workouts that you spread out over an eight-week period. Unlike other trainers, Zombies, Run! 5K emphasizes starting slow and listening to your body as you gradually increase your endurance. You do workouts every other day and take the full eight weeks to train.

Each 40-minute workout starts with a warm-up that is followed by a period of interval training. During the intervals, you alternate between running, walking and other activities like knee lifts or skipping. The workout wraps up with a free form period that lets you run or walk at your own pace. Each workout is challenging, but doable.

The allure of Zombies Run! 5K is the story line that keeps you engaged as you train. You start off at an outpost and are one of a handful of runners training to run for the settlement. The area is overrun with zombies (called zoms) that are always lurking about.

Each workout has a new scenario or task that you must complete by running or walking. At the end of a workout, you will receive a reward that plays into the storyline. A soothing female voice relays the story and encourages you throughout the workout. Other characters also appear during the storyline and you will get to know them by the end of your eight weeks.

The narration complements your training, and is not overbearing. There is enough of the storyline to keep you distracted while you run. When the narration is quiet, you can listen to your own music to fill the voids.

Zombies, Run! 5K can be used inside on a treadmill or outside. The app tracks your movement via GPS when you run outside and uses the accelerometer when you are inside. The app records your workout and saves some of the details like date, time and distance. You can review your runs by signing up for a ZombieLink account.

Zombies, Run! 5K is available for US$1.99 from the iOS App Store.