As any regular runner knows, the activity can get dull now and then. Even if you’re accustomed to running and you know how to settle into a “runner’s high,” there can be days when you just don’t want to do it. Fortunately, creative approaches can solve this problem, and there are a number of video game developers who seem to have realized this. Not all of these games are specifically designed to be compatible with running, but all of them can help to randomize your routines or add some fun background activity to a workout. Here are a few:
We’ll start with Zombies, Run! because it’s probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of games that can make running more enjoyable. In case you haven’t heard of it this is a mobile app that functions as an audio-only game. More specifically, it makes an experience out of running to avoid a herd of zombies nipping at your heels. It may sound gimmicky, and it is, but don’t worry. The game is great as long as you like working out more than you like zombies. That is to say, it’s not all about the zombie experience. This is more of a running app than a video game, but it does help to spice things up.
This is another app that attempts to blend gaming and working out, and does so with some success. There’s a great focus in gaming these days on character advancement. Developers give players ways to constantly evolve and improve their characters as a means of making a game endless, so there’s always more to do. This app does the same thing through your workout. Your job is to complete exercise tasks set by “Grandmaster Old Beard,” and as you reach different milestones you can make different upgrades to a sort of ninja avatar in the app. As a running app it’s somewhat lazily constructed, but you might be surprised how much you get into upgrading your character if you stick with it for a while.
This isn’t a particular game, but rather something you can engineer with relative ease. One of the best ways to keep a run interesting (not to mention more effective) is to vary your pace and routine. You’ll want to work in sprints, walking, jogging, and other exercises. But it can be hard to randomize your routine on your own. This is where you can actually make use of gaming again, and particularly the fact that casino slot reels have been adapted for mobile platforms. You can access a slot reel through your phone, assign different exercises, distances, or running styles to different icons, spin the wheel, and get an automatically randomized routine. It sounds kind of strange, but it makes your workout different each and every time you run. Think of it like dealing yourself a workout routine.
It’s been about a year since it first came out and took the mobile world by storm, but enthusiasm has since cooled a little bit. Still, the game has a few features that naturally incentivize running. Most notably, you can hatch virtual eggs (containing Pokémon) as well as train your designated “buddy” Pokémon just by covering ground on your feet. If you want to treat it this way, it’s almost like a more involved version of Ninja Fitness, though the app itself isn’t made to track or map runs at all.
They’re all a little silly, but these gaming ideas can actually work pretty well if you're willing to try them out. Give one or two of them a shot and you might find that your daily run becomes less of a burden and more of an treat.