The Back Day Burnout: A Big Thick Back Workout

Want to do a back workout that will challenge you and leave you feeling as though you’ve really accomplished something? Try the Back Day Burnout Workout!

WORKOUT DESCRIPTION

Absolutely nothing makes you look as physically dominate as a thick, wide back.

Every true alpha male has a back as wide as the Great Wall of China and as thick as the bricks it was built with.

But, if you’re not quite there yet, have no fear.

Today we’re bringing you an epic back day workout that will help you develop that V-taper every single lifter aspires to develop from the first day s/he picks up a dumbbell.

This workout isn’t for the faint of heart and if you’re not an experienced lifter, it’s not a good place to start.

Build the foundation for your muscle with a beginner workout and once you’re a little more experienced and ready to tackle a challenge such as this workout, come back and give it a shot.

There’s no need to burn yourself out right off the bat.

BACK DAY BURNOUT BREAKDOWN

The Back Day Burnout covers all of the bases. It has heavy sets for you strength seekers. It has high volume hypertrophy sets for all of you aesthetic animals.

But the true challenge of this workout comes down to completing the final burnout finisher, and only those with some serious muscular endurance will come out victorious.

This workout is best done with a partner who has similar strength as yours. As the workout progresses, you’ll find comfort in knowing someone is going through this workout with you. Believe me, it’s a doozy!

DEADLIFTS

The Back Day Burnout workout starts off with some heavy deadlifts. The deadlift is one of the most crucial exercises a lifter can have in their workout program to build a strong and functional lower back.

By keeping the reps low and the intensity high with this compound lift, we can get an enormous bang for our buck in total poundage moved to start things off.

Related: Deadlift Domination – 5 Tips for 5 Plates

Perform a dynamic warmup and some light warm up sets before working your way up to the working sets of the Back Day Burnout.  Also, you may want to be prepared to be on the platform for a while. You’ll be performing 8 total sets of heavy deadlifts.

Once you’re warmed up, start of with 3 sets of 5. Whether you keep the weight the same or not for each set is completely up to you; however, I’d recommend only moving up as the reps per sets drop.

After you finish off your sets of 5, move right into 3 sets of 3. The reps are lower, but the weight you’re using should be heavier. Keep your focused dialed in. These are the reps where gains will be made.

Lastly, hit a couple of heavy doubles. You want to go as heavy as you can here, but it is important to know your own strength. There’s no point in risking injury trying to pull weight you’re not used to. Go heavy (I like to try and out do my partner), but be smart.

LAT PULLDOWNS

After you’ve finished up your deadlifts, move on to the first exercise of your hypertrophy lifts. We’re going to kick things off with wide grip lat pulldowns to try to build some lats that flair out.

Shoot for 3 sets of 10 with your first lat pulldown variation and really focus on contracting and squeezing your lats on each rep. Be sure to pick a weight that is challenging, but also allows your to hit every prescribed rep of the program with perfect form.

M&S Athlete Performing Lat Pulldowns on Back Day

CLOSE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN

We’re not moving from the cable pulldown, but you are going to need to swap out the cable attachment. We’re going with a close grip variation next, but this variation will probably be slightly different from any you’ve done before.

Grab the close grip handle as you normally would to get into a pulldown position. Instead of sitting on the machine though, we’re taking this all the way down to the floor.

You may need your partner’s help to get in position for these. As you approach the floor, wrap your feet around the bottom of the machine for stability. Arch your back slightly and using your lats, pull the weight to your chest.

If you’re too far back, the weight will hit the top of the machine, so make sure you are level with the pulldown cable.

Go lighter on these the first couple of times you try them and make sure you hit 12 reps on all 3 sets.

MEADOW ROWS

After you complete both pulldown variations, head over to the t-bar machine row. Don’t actually get on the machine though, because instead of t-bar rows, we’re going to be performing Meadow rows.

Related: John Meadows – His Journey to the Arnold, Brand, & Back Workout

Hover over the end of the t-bar and grab it with one arm. Once you’re in position, row the weight up as you would while performing a dumbbell row. Remember to squeeze your back with each rep.

The Meadow row can be tough, especially if you lack grip strength. If you find yourself struggling to hold onto the end of the bar, don’t worry you’re not alone. Either lower the weight you’re using and work on building that grip of yours, or implement some straps for these.

SUPPORTED ROWS ON INCLINE BENCH

Continuing on with our rows for this Back Day Burnout, finish up your hypertrophy sets with supported dumbbell rows on the incline bench.

I love performing dumbbell rows in a supported fashion for a few reasons. After those heavy deadlifts and Meadow rows we just did, your low back is going to be fried and the support is going to be a breath of fresh air.

Also, by implementing the support on your front, it eliminates potential cheat reps that many lifters are guilty of when performing traditional dumbbell rows.

Set up an incline bench and rest your chest on the back of it. Grab the desired amount of weight you wish to use and perform 10 strict reps for 3 sets.

M&S Athlete Performing Pullups on their Back Day

BACK DAY BURNOUT SET

By now, you’re probably thinking that everything listed above looks like your normal, run-of-the-mill back day workout. So, if you’ve been reading all this time and just waiting to see where the burnout comes into play, you’re in luck.

The Back Day Burnout finisher is no joke. You’re going to need some serious endurance to accomplish this after all of the aforementioned exercises.

The finisher to the workout is 100 total combined reps of either pullups, chin-ups, or inverted rows. You can perform as many reps of any of the three that you prefer, but there are three rules.

  1. You have to hit at least 10 total reps of each by the end of the 100 reps.
  2. You have to cycle through them in the order they are listed (pullup, chinup, inverted row).
  3. Once you fail, you have to move on to the next exercise in the rotation.

If you’re working out with a partner, turn this into as much of a competition as the heavy sets of deadlifts were. See who can do these 100 reps in the fewest sets. And make sure that each of you are doing full reps with perfect form.

Come all the way down on the pullups and chin-ups (but not to a completely unloaded position) and pull yourself up to where your chin is over the bar. On the inverted row, make sure that you touch your chest to the bar on each rep. If you or your partner doesn’t accomplish this, the rep doesn’t count and they have to move on to the next exercise.

Good luck!

BACK DAY BURNOUT WORKOUT

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Deadlifts 8 5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2
2. Lat Pulldowns 3 10
3. Close Grip Lat Pulldown from Floor 3 12
4. Meadow Rows 3 10
5. Supported Rows on Incline Bench 3 10
6a. Pullups
6b. Chinups
6c. Inverted Row 100 total reps

 Author|Josh England

Fourteen of Australia’s best places to run

Running is a beautiful and highly personal experience, but let’s face it, most of us would prefer to pound out the kilometers on a scenic coastal path or winding bush track than a city street or industrial estate.

If you’ve ever wanted to expand your running horizons, here are 14 amazing runs around Australia sourced from personal experience, that of fellow runners, race directors and the ever-useful Cool Running forums.

There’s a combination of road and trail runs, the latter often the most scenic and sometimes technically challenging. If you want to impress an overseas visitor, or you’re heading interstate for a holiday and want to build some good runs into your itinerary, read on.

Remember if you take to the trails, dress appropriately for weather changes, especially in winter, take your own hydration source and some back-up nutrition.

Just as importantly, purchase running shoes from a retailer such as The Athlete’s Foot that will keep your goals and running style in mind when determining the best fit, brand and style.

Queensland

Mount Coot-tha.Mt Coot-tha

Just 5km from the Brisbane CBD, Mt Coot-tha has 18.5 kilometres of tracks ideal for running. Start from either JC Slaughter Falls or Simpson Falls picnic areas. The river city is also well endowed with shared bike paths so if you’re staying in the CBD, it’s easy to drop onto a path for a scenic river run away from traffic.

Noose Heads.Noosa National Park

Start from Main Beach on Hastings Street and follow the timber boardwalk to the entrance to the National Park and then onwards via the coastal Tanglewood track out to Hells Gates and back via the inland bush track for a total run of about 10km. For a longer run continue on to Alexandria Bay.

NSW

Manly Cove.Spit to Manly

In Sydney, the Spit to Manly 10km run starts at the Spit Bridge in Mosman’s Middle Harbour and ends at Manly Cove. It’s a combination of track and road plus a bit of beach, easy to follow and with views all the way. Take your camera and finish in Manly for breakfast/lunch.

Oaks Fire Trail.Blue Mountains

Park at Glenbrook, catch the train to Woodford and then run the Oaks Fire Trail back down. It’s 25km, with the final 11km downhill to Euroka camping ground, which is about 5km from Glenbrook station.

Centennial ParkCentennial Park, Paddington

You can do the 3.6km internal loop that follows the road and runs parallel with the horse-riding track, or follow the park perimeter for a quieter, more peaceful run through a variety of vegetation and wetlands.

Royal National ParkRoyal National Park

The Royal in Sydney’s south is a trail fiend’s paradise, and the jewel in the running crown is the 26km Coast Track that stretches from the village of Bundeena in the north to Otford in the south. You can do the whole thing in one hit but, be warned, there are some significant climbs that will test the fittest. Alternatively, break it up into sections and enjoy the mix of cliff tops, beaches, open grasslands and forest. Carry your own water and food.

Victoria

tmm, may, 2013, fitness, pic by daniel mahon
The Tan, South YarraThe Tan

In Melbourne, the 3.8km Tan track is mostly forgiving packed dirt, predominantly flat and starts near the Swan Street Bridge. It follows a scenic route along the Yarra River, and skirts the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Kings Domain with options to divert and add some distance. It’s close to CBD hotels without hitting much traffic.

Mount Oberon.Wilsons Promontory

The Prom National Park’s Mount Oberon summit track is a 6.8km return route with a mixture of some steep sections and steps. The summit view is of the southernmost point of Australia’s mainland. Start from Telegraph Saddle car park.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Kings Park.Kings Park

The Perth CBD landmark has myriad trails, not to mention Jacob’s Ladder – 250 steps of fun climbing, rewarded with great views and a sense of being well away from the city when in fact you’re not.

Lake MongerLake Monger Reserve

Has a 10.4km flat track through picturesque wetlands. It’s less than 5km from Perth with ample parking.

South Australia

Glenelg beach pier.Glenelg

On the coast just 11km from the Adelaide CBD. Catch a tram there and run the 8km loop, following the coast path from Glenelg Pier to Brighton Beach. Plenty of good cafes and diversionary options along the way.

Tasmania

Mount Wellington.Mount Wellington

The mountain behind Hobart has many running tracks easily reachable by car from the CBD. You can follow the road for 22km to the summit, or take the many fire trails or walking tracks. Try the 7km Springs to Lenah Valley route.

Northern Territory

Mindil Beach, Darwin.Darwin

The Esplanade at dusk offers spectacular sunset views, and on to Mindil Beach to a bike track that follows the coast to the East Point Reserve, about 10km from the city.

ACT

Lake Burley Griffin.

Lake Burley Griffin

The perimeter shoreline is 40km, but the run around it can be abbreviated or easily added to. It’s an all-bitumen shared pathway, nearly all flat, and passes by national institutions such as the High Court and the National Portrait Gallery.

The article is sponsored by The Athlete’s Foot, now stocking the New Balance 1260v5.

Pip Coates|Jul 9 2015

Here’s What To Eat After Every Type Of Workout

We’ve all been there. You workout hard and, for one reason or another, you don’t eat quickly enough afterwards. You start to feel shaky, hangry, jittery and maybe even anxious.

Eating properly after exercise is important not only to replenish the energy you’ve just burned, but also to make sure you get the most out of your workout — so you can see the results you want.

“Post workout nutrition provides fuel and nutrients for the body and helps prevent blood sugar lows and fatigue,” nutritionist Fiona Tuck told The Huffington Post Australia. “The body needs nutrients to help with muscle recovery and cellular repair.”

Nutritionist and celebrity chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin agrees.

“Looking after yourself doesn’t stop at exercise — taking care of nutrition is critical,” Bingley-Pullin said. “Proper refuelling will also allow you to have more energy for your next workout.”

GEBER86
The harder your workout, the higher your post-nutrition needs.

According to Alexandra Parker and Anna Debenham, accredited practising dietitians from The Biting Truth, whether you’re an amateur or a professional athlete, what you eat pre- and post-exercise is crucial.

“Following a workout, what you eat is vital in helping you reach your training and health goals and in ensuring you make the most of your workout,” Debenham said.

“Every time you exercise, carbohydrate stores (in the form of glycogen) are utilised for energy and your muscle protein is broken down. It’s therefore essential to replenish these stores afterwards.”

“Exercising actually makes your muscle tissues more sensitive to certain hormones and nutrients, which means that muscle is most responsive to nutrient intake during the first 30 to 90 minutes post-workout,” Parker added.

When it comes to post-workout recovery, always consider the three Rs:

Refuel

  • Refuel your glycogen (carbohydrate) stores to avoid muscle tissue breakdown and low energy.
  • Lack of glucose to fuel the brain can lead to decreased alertness and concentration, and low mood.
  • Aim for high quality carbohydrates sources (think wholegrain breads and cereals).

Repair

  • Repair damaged muscles with protein.
  • Consuming protein post-workout will provide amino acids for the building and repair of muscle tissue. This will help you to recover more quickly.
  • Aim for lean protein sources (think lean meats, eggs, nuts, legumes, tofu and reduced fat dairy).

Rehydrate

  • Rehydrate with fluids.
  • Most of us finish a workout at least a little dehydrated, and you will continue to lose fluids through sweating and breathing. It is essential that you replace these fluids immediately.
  • Your thirst is not the best gauge of hydration. The best way to tell how hydrated you are is to look at the colour of your urine. You want to aim for straw-coloured urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.

When we skip post-workout nutrition, the effects on the body are negative and quick to arise.

“While skipping a post-workout snack every now and then isn’t necessarily an enormous deal, it should never become a habit,” Parker told HuffPost Australia.

“If you don’t adequately replenish your stores following a workout, not only will you not make the most out of your workout, but your body can experience some other negative consequences.”

These include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), which can make you feel disoriented and could even cause you to pass out
  • Increased fatigue (during training and at work or school)
  • Reduced performance at your next training session or event
  • Suboptimal gains from the session just completed — you won’t make the most out of your workout
  • Increased muscle soreness.

“Blood sugar can drop which can lead us to feeling shaky, tired, lightheaded and even nauseated,” Tuck said. “The brain relies on a constant supply of glucose to stay mentally alert, so our attention can wane and we can feel low in energy and mood.”

TUCKO019 VIA GETTY IMAGES
This feeling is the worst.

When it comes to actual post-workout food, Parker said the type and amount comes down to your fitness goals, more so than the exercise itself.

“Generally, the principles are very much the same, but exactly what your body needs most varies slightly depending on the type of exercise you’re doing and what your goals are,” Parker said.

“The time of day of your workout is also going to make a difference to the meal or snack you have (lunch food is very different to a snack).”

As a general rule, Parker recommends that all post-exercise foods should be rich in good quality carbohydrates to replenish muscle fuel stores, contain some lean protein to repair muscles, and include a source of fluid and electrolytes to re-hydrate effectively.

“The higher the energy intake (calories) depends on the intensity of the amount of physical exercise,” Tuck explained. “Long distance endurance training or weight training or body building would be different to a relaxing yoga class, for example.”

GETTY

Here’s what to eat after different types of workouts.

1. Cardio work (e.g. running, endurance, cycling)

“The key is replenishing carbohydrate stores, and adequate hydration is essential,” Debenham said. “For example, a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter and banana. It’s full of potassium which soothes muscles, high quality carbs, protein and heart healthy fats.”

Other great post-cardio options include: a banana and a handful of nuts, or 1-2 slices of whole grain toast with either ricotta and fruit or cottage cheese and tomato.

“Athletes, such as endurance runners and cyclists, need specific sports nutrition to ensure adequate nutrients and calories are consumed for the body to be able to function at its optimum,” Tuck told HuffPost Australia.

“This may involve consuming nutrients and electrolytes during the actual exercise, as well as pre- and post-work out nutrition.”

GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

2. Pilates or barre

“Again, it depends on your goal. Is the goal to lose weight, or perhaps you’re looking to boost core strength and increase your muscle mass,” Debenham said.

“If your goal is weight loss, then a nutrient rich meal within 60 minutes of your workout is essential as the meal will be more efficiently digested. If your goal is to improve strength, then protein is key.”

Try two hard boiled eggs with multigrain toast, or a slice of roasted vegetable and feta frittata.

3. Yoga

“Your food choices post-yoga should aim to repair your tired muscles and replenish your energy stores,” Parker said. “To do this, your body needs a hit of protein, some low GI carbohydrates and fruits or vegetables.

“Try a small tub of Greek yoghurt with a couple of spoons of natural muesli containing nuts and fruit. Or for something savoury, a small can of tuna, four bean mix and some chopped veggies.”

YULIA_DAVIDOVICH

4. Resistance or strength training

If your goal is to gain muscle, then an energy-rich diet with adequate amounts of protein is just as important as your well-developed strength training program.

“While an increased intake is essential for muscle gain, your intake should be low in fat and high in nutrients,” Parker said.

“Following strength training, protein should be consumed. Consuming carbohydrates in conjunction with protein allows the protein to be used for muscle growth and repair.”

“Smoothies are a great option and easy if you’re on the run. Simply blitz the ingredients together in the blender the night before (berries, low fat yoghurt, oats).”

Tuck recommends trying a delicious chocolate smoothie with protein powder, banana, cacao and milk.

“This provides carbs, protein, fats and important minerals such as potassium and magnesium,” Tuck said.

CHIOCIOLLA

5. High intensity interval training (e.g. cross fit, HIIT)

After high intensity interval training, Debenham recommends opting for an egg omelette with sautéed onions and capsicum, plus a bowl of chopped fruit. Hint: include pineapple.

“Aside from their protein content, eggs are high in leucine which triggers muscle protein synthesis. The vitamin C in the capsicums is essential for maintaining healthy cartilage you need to cushion your bones,” Debenham said.

“Research suggests that bromelain (an enzyme in pineapple) may help to reduce exercise induced inflammation.”

Another delicious option is overnight oats — simply combine oats, yoghurt or milk of choice, mashed banana and chia seeds.

MARIA SHUMOVA VIA GETTY IMAGES

Other post-workout snack and meal ideas:

  • Peanut butter and banana in a whole grain wrap
  • Lean chicken and salad roll
  • Bowl of muesli with yogurt and berries
  • Fresh fruit salad with Greek yogurt
  • Tin of tuna with crackers, plus a banana
  • Lean meat, chicken or fish with potato and vegetables
  • Stir fry with lean meat
  • Toast with banana, reduced-fat ricotta and honey, plus an orange.

11/01/2017 1:38 PM AEDT | Updated 13/01/2017 8:41 AM AEDT|Juliette Steen|Associate Food Editor, HuffPost Australia

Shed Calories With Ease With This 10-Minute Tone-Up Workout

Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t deny the fact that Khloe Kardashian is currently slaying the fitness game. Right before our eyes we’ve seen the 32-year-old reality TV star transform her entire life by adopting a healthy lifestyle and working out. But as easy as it seems, it takes serious commitment.

However, her pledge hasn’t been a lonesome journey. Beverly Hills-based trainer Gunnar Peterson has been by her side, helping her get in shape every inch of the way. While Peterson is one of the top trainers in the biz, he recently shared some tips that won’t cost you the hefty price tag Khloe probably cashes out on for his services.

 In a brand new video, Peterson reveals a 10-minute tone-up workout that you can do basically anywhere at any time. A combination of strength training and cardio to elevate the heart rate and tone the body, incoprate these moves into your daily routine, and you too will be on your way to transforming your body like Khloe.

 

See the breakdown of the workout below.

The LG Tone-Up Workout by Gunnar Peterson

Repeat these 10 moves in the following order:

25 Jumping Jacks

8-12 Deadlifts *Use dumbbells or anything around the house that you can lift

26 Split Jacks

15-20 Bent-over Raises *Use dumbbells or anything around the house that you can lift

Jog in place for 30-60 seconds to lateral walk with 8-12 steps in each direction

8-10 Close-grip Push-ups

8-10 Regular-grip Push-ups

8 Bulgarian Split-Squats (on each side)

10 Supermans

Making a game out of running

Let’s talk running. Wait, please come back. This time three years ago I bought a nice polyester T-shirt, laced up a crusty pair of trainers, started with tiny little five-minute jogs and worked up to 5K, 10K, half marathons and then the full marathon. The latter saw three of my toenails fall off and at one point was so painful it introduced me to the rare phenomenon of crying whilst moving.

I am 30, which if my friends group is anything to go by, seems to be the exact point in life us SEGA-addled kids collectively decide they definitely, absolutely must go and sign up to the London Marathon, a goal which proved even more motivating to my health than recalling the YouTube comments during my tenure as the fat one off GameSpot.

‘Reminds you of that fat kid at school whose face you just want to punch’ – Anonymous Internet Commenter, 2013.

Maybe the kids who grew up with the PlayStation 2 will have a completely different generational reaction, but it doesn’t surprise me that someone who spent childhood guiding a hedgehog around the world now seeks a similar sense of onward progression, although it’s a crying shame Hyde Park doesn’t have a loop-the-loop in sight. But I’ve found the objective-based structures of gaming in general translate particularly well to training for those famous distances – just a a few more speedwork sessions and you’ll level up dexterity!

It’s no surprise to see various developers seeking to harness all this in, you know, actual games. The most famous example here, outside of overly keen Pokemon Go players, is probably Zombies, Run!, essentially an audiobook metered out as you log mileage. There are more than a few hokey touches here, but it’s a very likable story – and you’ve got to hand it to them for the amount of ways they narratively justify the need for you, the mute protagonist known as Runner 5, to run.

On the other end of my scale: Burn your fat with me!!, a slightly creepy ‘moe’ anime partner who slowly becomes more enamored with you as you get better at sit-ups. I can’t tell you if the story ends with actual love, because I only bought the first chunk of the game while riding the night bus home after a heavy night and refuse to buy subsequent chapters because it’s rubbish. Still, I hope there’s at least one person out there who’s carved out a set of Cristiano Ronaldo abs off the back of it.

Most recent to the plate is Run an Empire, which just opened a second round of crowdfunding and is looking to launch globally in 2017. Perfectly placed for the onslaught of boxfresh trainers about to grace pavements in January, here you’ll be turning in mileage to ‘own’ real-world areas, which is sadly the closest most of us will get to the property ladder these days.

Regardless of which running game you pick up, you tend to end up in a similar place. My main haunt these days – and you’ll become intimately familiar with your nearest park when you pick up running – is Tooting Bec Commons. This little patch of ragged greenery in southwest London is poorly lit, cold and unwelcoming in the winter. In the summer it’s rammed full of roaming picnickers and mothers who treat their baby-stuffed prams with reckless disregard. This is my land and I, sadly, am its king.

It’s easy to see the potential appeal: Strava’s high-score leaderboards have been encouraging middle-aged cyclists to splat into the back of lorries for years now, so applying a similar idea (running loops both quickly and regularly) to an app makes sense. As someone who easily falls down the breadcrumb progression trail of virtually any multiplayer shooter, take it from me when I say it’s all too easy to gobble up this all-you-can-eat buffet of perceived progression. Give me a whiff of a shiny bauble on a virtual trophy cabinet and I’ll stay up until 3am repeating the same task endlessly for it.

Yet I find it hard to get attached here. The idea might be to gamify running, but running is surely gamified enough. Case in point: 23:47. 47:19. 1:50:54, 4:50:18. These numbers, my current personal bests for the 5k, 10k, half and full marathons, scroll through my memory like high scores from a 90s arcade cabinet. They’ve become my personal mental screensaver. Bettering them fuels the lacing up of trainers on a cold winter morning or bracing myself for a baking hot lunchtime lap in summer.

47:19 and 55:08. We both felt like champions.

Your numbers might be a lot better; if you’ve never run a day in your life you might think they’re quite impressive. Like many things I’ve discovered about adult life, it’s a case of perspective. What’s important is that they’re my times, and each one is the product of a lot of work. Beating those numbers, or just maintaining them, has become the game.

Some of my niggles with Run an Empire are similarly fundamental. It basically demands you run in a circular loop, for instance, and restricts you to an hour of running at a time, hindering any acknowledgement of progressing in distance training – I wanted to use the app to train for a half-marathon but couldn’t. Neither of these are a big deal until they are. I could natter on about other, basic technical failings, like the various instances it’s deleted my run because it suspects I’m cheating (which I take as a compliment), or the lack of integration with Strava and Runkeeper – the totemic holy grails of the hobby – but I’d forgive a lot of that if I was more hooked by the premise.

Run an Empire doesn’t complement the hobby of running, then, but running doesn’t particularly enhance the mechanics behind Run an Empire’s feudalistic ambition either – there’s no real sense of the ownership you’d get with, say, a game of Civilization or Clash of Clans. You’d be better off separating your two hobbies, darting around the park and then coming back to give Gandhi a good kicking.

My main problem with these games is that they make you go walking, running, cycling etc. on their terms, but to me running at least has never worked that way. A lot of people tend to waffle on about a jog like it’s some kind of meditative act, which is partially true; other common states are pain, hunger, and the frustration of really needing to poop when you’re thirty minutes away from the nearest toilet. When I’m stuck up against a mental wall, which is something generally triggered by exertion, boredom or repetition, I have to retreat deep into my head instead of my phone.

When I think about Pokemon Go, it felt like such a summery success (and no, I don’t play it any more either) because it helped people get outside and see more of the area around them, a canny little pairing of walking and the game’s mechanics. Running moves in broader strokes – you tend to appreciate the breadth of the park rather than the stories behind its benches, and I don’t get much extra from viewing it all in, say, hexagonal squares over a street map. I’ve yet to find a running game which fuses itself with the rituals and the habits it’s trying to supplement, but it probably says something about me that I keep looking.

The other main argument behind most running apps is that they help promote a social scene – leaderboards, friendly competition, camaraderie and so forth. I can see that: running is as social or antisocial as you need it to be. I always do my long runs solo, but over the past couple of months I’ve been running in the evenings with one of my best friends – we’ve been training to get our 5K times back under 30 minutes after, in my instance, months of inactivity and alcoholic excess. We jog around St James’ Park and catch up, talking about everything going on in our lives and slowly appreciating the week-by-week improvement, that gradual, unfolding realization that the laps of the park are coming in faster and faster. But that’s not something I’ve ever been able to find in a leaderboard, and when it comes to times, well, that’s what the races are for.

It’s hard for me imagine a world where any of these running apps are the answer to why somebody is running. Running is an awful, grueling slog the narrative of our society unfairly romanticizes, but also a wonderful act which helps suppress the gremlins roaming around my mind telling me I’ll never be able to do, well, anything. Running has helped turned the world into an adventure playground, my personal Green Hill Zone asking to be looped, climbed and leapt through, and that’s far more interesting to me than being the ruler of any transient hexagonal kingdom.