Pokémon GO is all about going out into the real world and becoming the very best. All across the internet, people are talking about the potential health benefits of this game and pretty much every player is walking more. Who among us hasn’t gone on at least one walk specifically for hunting? But as a runner, I immediately wondered how I could use my hobby to become a better trainer. So for everyone who wants to lace up for the love of Pokémon, I give you a runner’s guide to Pokémon GO.

This guide is intended for all levels of runners/players.

A quick note on GPS tracking your run: Most people use some type of GPS tracking app to log their miles (ex. Nike+ or MapMyRun). However, if you’re using Pokémon GO, MapMyRun may not function. Keep in mind that I only tried once, perhaps other will have better luck. I have heard good things about Nike+ however. But with a lot of data and battery being used, you may want to avoid it anyway. For that reason, this guide is written in a way that views tracking your run and using Pokémon GO separately.

Ways to Run with Pokémon GO

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Catch and Run

Go for a run, then click on Pokéstops and catch Pokémon as they appear. Maintain a slow pace (10—15 min/mile recommended). This is important because the constant stopping and starting can take a toll on your body. A split focus between the run and the game means this is far from a training run, so take it slow. Additionally, if you’re going too fast, you may miss a lot along the way.

While running with Pokémon GO, be sure to have vibrate and/or sound on so you can focus on your surroundings. As someone who runs with headphones, I was able to easily use Spotify and Pokémon GO at the same time. Keep in mind, however, that Pokémon GO’s sound effects are really loud. Either turn them off or lower your phone volume during encounters.

PROS: Travel farther than you normally would while playing the game; get some exercise.

CONS: Slow pace required; constant stopping gives no indication of how far you can actually run.

Hatch and Run

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Many training regimens recommend incorporating easy runs as a form of active recovery. The one I loosely use to build mileage always ends the week with a 3 or 4-mile run. If that’s already your long run, simply decrease the mileage or run based on time.

Since the purpose of this run is active recovery, recording/obsessing over your pace isn’t necessary. So take it easy and open Pokémon GO to hatch eggs while your run. Just focus on the mileage or time. You’ll get a nice run out of it and some new Pokémon in the process.

PROS: Doesn’t affect your run pace; 2k, 5k, and 10k eggs offer runner-friendly distances.

CONS: Doesn’t let you catch Pokémon along the way.

Poké Walk and Run

Many people either prefer a combination of walking and running or start there when they’re first building stamina. Run for a few blocks, then walk for one. During your walk you can focus on catching Pokémon/selecting stops that way your run can really be about running (and it’ll all count towards hatching your eggs).

PROS: a little bit of everything.

CONS: if you’re training for a race, this may not be your best course of action since goal-oriented run/walk exercises are typically stricter.

Poké Cool down

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Every run should end with a brief cool down: a walk or light jog. Save your run (if you were tracking it with GPS) and start up Pokémon GO for your cool down. Take 5-15 mins to play the game before sitting down at home.

PROS: doesn’t affect your run; incentivizes the often skipped cool down.

CONS: doesn’t really help hatch your eggs much since you’re not going very far.

Important tips

  • Consider selecting a route close to transit.
    This allows you to cover more ground because you don’t have to run back. This also serves as a safety net if you experience extreme fatigue.
  • Choose a route that includes grass and water to find a diverse range of Pokémon.
    Parks are always a good option.
  • If you see a Pokémon while you’re about to cross the street, commit to either waiting for the next light or crossing.
    Remember, if you “pass by” a Pokémon you can still catch it because 9/10 times it will “move with you” over a short distance anyway, so there’s no reason to put yourself in danger.
  • Have a plan for carrying your water and bring lots of it. Consider hands free options such as belts or Camelbaks.
    Remember: even if you’re not running that hard or going that far, your hydration needs are affected by the temperature and the amount of time you’re outside. As with any exercise, you’re supposed to drink water before you get thirsty. Be sure to drink water consistently. For me, I drink every 2 miles until I get to 6 miles, then I drink every mile; if it’s hot I drink every mile regardless. Figure out what works for you!

 

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