That's where it's great to have friends who already have the app and could give me an overview of what to expect. They assured me it was 1) worth the money, 2) super fun and 3) wouldn't use data if I left my GPS tracking off. Since I always run with my Garmin (because running without means that my run didn't (mentally) count), that wasn't a loss.
My hope with Zombies, Run! is that it would help me run faster during my weekday runs by distracting me with a story and helping me relax and simply run.
Increasing weekday run speed is a priority for me as I aim for my next marathon PR and a huge goal: Breaking the 5-hour marathon mark.
(It seems like just yesterday when I was hoping to hit a 5:15!)
Anyway, the app is an extended story. You have the role of Runner 5 - an otherwise anonymous individual who survives a helicopter crash while on the way to Abel Township. You're heading there on an unidentified mission, a mission that has something to do with the zombie apocalypse that's gripped the country.
Every member of the township has to do something to earn his/her keep. You can run - a skill that you prove by running for your life from the helicopter crash to the township, avoiding hordes of zombies that are chasing you.
Runners are sent out into the countryside and abandoned buildings to collect supplies that Abel Township needs to survive.
You can set the length of the mission - the default is 30 minutes (perfect for a weekday morning run for me) or stretch it to an hour. When I say stretch, I mean stretch. There's no new story information, it's just spread out to fill an hour.
During the downtime in the story, the app plays music from your iTunes music list. It's important to set your tunes to shuffle or you risk listening to every song by artist. That may sound fun, but if your run tunes library includes Abba, you might find yourself listening to Abba for 30 solid minutes.
(Though the song Gimme! Gimmie! Gimme! A Man After Midnight seemed oddly appropriate...)
Anyway, once you complete the mission, the app switches you to Abel Township's radio station. There are two hilarious guys serving as DJs and the music they play - you guessed it - comes from your own music library.
All in all, it is a lot of fun. So far, I've found that I am able to run faster without thinking about it, which is exactly what I wanted. That makes the $4.99 purchase worth it in my mind.
Now we'll see if I'm able to break 5 hours at the 2015 Dallas Marathon.
(By the way - Kelly likes running with Zombies, Run!, too. Avoiding zombies isn't just fun for girls!!!)