Escaping the MOBs in Zombies, Run!

I have this friend named Theresa. When she’s not texting all of her friends and family about how awesome I am, she writes her own stuff and runs around town. She’s actually much faster than I am, but she typically gets caught by zombies. Today I’d like to share my secret for not getting bitten by the undead.

First of all, you’re probably wondering how she could possibly be faster than I am. I’m afraid the answer is rather technical, but I can tell you that involves a lack of laziness on her part. And a recent surplus on mine. But nevermind that now. Moving on the our brain-biting not-friends.

Zombies, Run!

As you (possibly) know, Zombies, Run is a mobile app that you play while running. It’s part radio show, part interactive game and part town-builder. If you’re not familiar with it, I’ve already written a review. The main focus of this article is the Zombie Chase feature. Sometimes a zombie is detected by the apps robot voice and you have to outrun the thing. This is where Theresa gets in trouble, and where I almost always win. Here’s the secret… it’s not about being a fast person. It’s about being a faster you.

Zombie chases happen maybe every 15 minutes, and you have to pick up your pace for up to a minute if you want to escape. If you’re fast enough, you evade the zombie. If you’re not, then you lose one of the items you’ve collected. Apparently you can distract the undead by dropping a bottle of water or a medkit or even underpants. I don’t know why, and I don’t care to. I find that it’s best not to ask questions about some things…

I want to be clear on this next bit. I’m assuming that you’re being safe out there. I tend to run at 5am when there aren’t many cars, and I live in a town with a bunch of places where a runner can go for a while without crossing the street. I even have a bike path nearby. If you’re in a city with bunches of intersections and traffic, then you’re probably going to get caught by some zombies and lose your underpants. Don’t worry about it. It’s much better to suffer a setback in a game than to get hit by a car.

And finally, the trick to winning. As I said, it’s not about being a fast person. If zombie chases are active, then you’re doing interval training. Slow, fast, slow, repeat. Even if the characters in the story tell you to run as fast as you can, don’t do it yet. Wait. Keep your current pace and wait until you actually hear the robot voice tell you that a Zombie has been detected. When the beeping starts, you can pick up your pace to a full run. Hold that run for about a minute, and you’ll evade the zombie.

Theresa screws this up by running extra-fast the entire time. When she has to pick it up, there isn’t much difference between her fast speed and her even faster speed. The computer needs a certain number between the two rates of travel. In my case, things are a bit easier because I tend to just cruise along until something tries to eat my brains. My faster speed is significantly different from my regular speed, so the application is satisfied.

I’m not sure if it’s tracking an average or just a current rate, but I think I’ve managed to pull a last-minute save by picking things up a bit at the end. I’ve also managed to get busted when the chase starts at the bottom of a steep hill.

So there you are. Keep your speed reasonable until you need it and you’ll escape almost every time. But keep in mind that you’ll end up going slower over all. For a faster regular run, just turn off Zombie Chases and pick whatever pace you like.