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6 running apps for people who don't even like to walk

Susie Ochs | Aug. 28, 2013
Don't give up on running just because you hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.

RunKeeper—iOS, Android (free)
To get GymPact credit for a run, I have to log it with RunKeeper. This is an essential app for anyone dorky enough to want to track all their fitness activities—it'll map all your walks and runs and spit out fun stats like pace, time, calories burned, and elevation gained.

For beginners like me, that's quite enough, and the free account will suffice. But with a Pro account or some in-app purchases, RunKeeper can go a lot further—it's got built-in training programs for all fitness levels, and you can even pair it with a heart monitor and get real-time audio cues about your heart rate. Me, I just want to know it's faithfully recording the stats GymPact needs (that, and how much longer the pain will last), so Time, Distance, and Average Pace are the only audio cues I want. The personal records, awards, goals, friends list, and leaderboards are just icing on the cake. The cake that I'm totally going to eat after I finish running.

Zombies, Run! 2—iOS, Android ($4)
So with GymPact providing the incentive, and RunKeeper recording the proof, what about the little problem of running being super-freaking boring? Easy, I just hired a few zombies to chase me. Zombies, Run! 2 provides a game-ification aspect to running, and it's been instrumental in getting me to actually want to run. It's also entertaining enough that I often lose myself in the story while I'm panting down the street.

All you have to do is put your headphones in, pick a playlist on your iPhone, start the first mission, and run. The story unfolds in creepy stereo sound: You're air-dropped into a dystopian nightmare, running from a pack of bloodthirsty zombies who are chasing you back to your bombed-out base. When they get close, you'd better run all-out to keep them away. Sounds corny, but it works. Even if I'm taking a walk break, the sound of those lurching, heavy-breathing zombies catching up makes me break into a sprint every time.

As you run, you pick up items that you can use between workouts to build your base and level up. The app comes with 23 missions, and once you burn through those, you can add more via in-app purchase. The 40 missions of Season 2, for example, costs another $4. The best endorsement I can give this game is that it creeped me out so much (especially since I tend to run at twilight) that I extended one run a full 10 minutes past GymPact's 30-minute minimum just to get to the end of a mission. You can pause any mission and resume it anytime, but I just had to listen until the end.

 

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