I love what Six To Start is doing with fitness apps. (Sorry, Conor.)
It all started with Zombies, Run!. It’s the first running app I’ve used and enjoyed. It tells a story while you run interspersed with your own music. The idea is fantastic. You’re a new runner at a colony after the zombies have risen. You’re sent out on mission to rescue people, pick up supplies, and investigate sightings of people.
Each mission unfolds through radio communications from Abel Township, your home base. Between the transmissions, I select a play list of music, or I can choose to run in silence between the story. I get to listen to the music I want and I have a story I’m anxious to hear. After the story is over, the app kicks into radio mode. The play list I’ve selected continues and instead of story, I get to hear from the local talk from the radio hosts at Abel Township. It’s a fun way to handle the problem of the run outlasting the recorded story.
There are two other parts of the app I like. First, during the runs I collect supplies. It could be bits of wire or food. It can be telecommunications equipment or bandages. I use the supplies to rebuild and improve my base.
Second, is the Zombie Chase option which is exactly what it sounds like. Zombies are chasing you! The app calculates my average pace over the last 30 seconds, then for the next minute, I must go 20% faster to outrun the zombies. There are audio cues of the zombies chasing after me, and beeps to show how close they are. And after one minute, the app will tell me I’m safe again.
Most of the time I’m able to outrun them, but if I’m caught, I lose the supplies I’ve collected for the mission. So it doesn’t kill you or stop the mission, but if it’s late in the run, I could lose a lot of supplies. This option can be turned on and off for safety. When I’m on a track, I’ll enable it. If I’m running near a road, I keep it turned off so I’m not running in circles trying to avoid zombies waiting for a light to change.
This app uses GPS to map your runs and keep track of distance. There is also a pedometer mode I use when I’m on a treadmill. The company supports itself through selling the new seasons of stories for a couple of dollars.
There are also training programs for 5k, 10k and 20k races. The app continues to grow. With extra mission types such as AirDrop, which is to run out to a place in the real world to recover a supply drop. Supply runs is similar in that it’s a round trip. Run out, get the supplies, and run back to where you started. The app also syncs to RunKeeper. This is nice if you follow people over there so they don’t have to run from Zombies. But you can have your runs show up over there is your friends or family use it to track their runs.
All your progress syncs through ZombieLink to the web. This app is the reason I ever started getting out and exercising with any consistency. I still struggle with it, especially now that it’s cold and I’m lazy. But Zombies, Run! is the reason I’ve enjoyed my workouts.
If Zombies, Run! doesn’t interest you, The Walk may be more your speed. The Walk is a A 500 mile thriller where every step counts. It’s time to walk for your life. The story is a bomb explodes and you’re given a package that could save the world. To survive, you’ll need to walk the length of the UK. The developer is in the UK. It’s a great pedometer. It also has a story to tell that unfolds as you walk.
Six to Start, the company behind Zombies, Run, and The Walk, have been doing cool things in the area of fitness. I’ve tried a lot of apps and nothing has stuck with my like Zombies, Run! I’ve also tried The Walk but it didn’t stick with me, though I’ve recently downloaded it again to give it another try.
They also released Superhero Workout. This app takes the promise of Microsoft’s Kinect and put it into a phone. It uses the front-facing camera to track your movements. I have not tried this app but given what Six to Start has done before tells me this is going to be a good app too. Like their earlier apps, you’re not just working out. You’re working to complete missions and become a superhero.
If you’ve read this far, I’ll treat you to my profile on ZombieLink. You can see how long it’s been since I’ve gone for a run. Please yell at me about it. Let me know if you’re a Zombie Runner and we can be buddies. It will help motivate me to get off my butt and use the app again.
Zombies, Run!, The Walk and Superhero Workout are all available for Android and iOS.