Last week I decided that — as winter is coming (couldn’t help myself) — I’d get back into running again. While I’m not a huge fan of the potential impact-related injuries, it has two benefits over cycling: it can be done when the weather is unsuitable for riding and it’s easier to pack a pair of running shoes when travelling than it is a bike. I see running as a autumn/winter thing.
As it’s been 6 years (holy crap!) since I last did both the Cool Running Couch-to-5K (C25K) program and the Santa’s Fun Run in Marlow, I did a quick look around for C25K apps now that we’re living in the Age of Apps. What immediately jumped out at me were the Zombies, Run! (ZR) and Zombies, Run! 5k Training (ZR5K) apps. It appears that ZR is designed for those who can run 5km without stopping and ZR5K is for those who need help to reach that point.
For the uninitiated, they’re running apps that use the zombie apocalypse theme to motivate you via a mixture of story immersion, “game-ification” (achievements, objectives, etc) and being chased by zombies (what other apps call “ghost” runners/riders) for occasional sprints. It works like other C25K programs in that it takes ~24 sessions (3 times per week for ~8 weeks) to go from the couch to a non-stop 5K. It works, trust me: when I did it in 2007 I was 120kg and was completely sedentary.
These days I’m 15kg lighter and semi-regularly ride my bicycle to work and on longer weekend rides with friends — I’m still a work in progress, but starting at a more advantageous place than last time. I decided to start at the beginning of the ZR5K program, and on Sunday listened to the introductory mission (all walking, no running), which is basically the “story so far” from any novel or film. On Monday I did Week 1 Day 1 (W1D1) starting with the 10 minute warmup walk, then a number of 60s/15s run/walk intervals, and finished with the 10 minute “free-form run” — anything you like: 10 minutes of walking if you like. I was astonished to find that I barely broke a sweat in the 37 minutes I was out there. I put it down to being lighter and fitter than I was last time, as back then I repeated each Week twice until I was able/comfortable to proceed to the next week.
And this morning I did W1D2 - exactly the same requirements as the last session.
If you think this may be just what you need to motivate you into running, then check out the website where you can download the iPhone and Android versions of apps, and sign up to have your progress linked to the website and have access to the social aspects (I’m there as Rhuarc):
Check out the Wiki, which contains in-depth explanations on various aspects of the apps, stories, missions, achievements, etc: http://zombiesrun.wikia.com/
Lastly, check out the related pages on Reddit: /r/runner5 (ZR) and /r/runner5k (ZR5K).
If you’re scared about what you’ll be expected to do throughout the course of the program, check out this helpful Reddit post: Resource: Zombies 5K Workout Plan
It explains each workout/Day, what you’ll be doing and so on.
Good luck. Zombies, RUN!