There is no greater reward for being active than a long and healthy life – but that’s something that happens in the future to a different you, so it’s worth hunting out more immediate, material rewards as well.
Several fitness apps promise prizes if you log all your activities with them, but often it takes months of effort to earn the measliest of rewards. This is not the case with Running Heroes (free, Apple Store and Google Play), an app I have recently become truly, madly, keep-banging-on-to-my-deskmate-about-it obsessed with.
The rewards on Running Heroes (which also awards points for bike rides) are actually worth earning. As well as discounts on every major athletic gear brand, you can also get money off races and one-off treats like free avocado toast from Le Pain Quotidien or eight craft beers from Beer 52.
It’s possible to earn these rewards in under a couple of weeks if you commute to work by bike or on foot, or if you’re running regularly in the build-up to an event. For example, cycling for half an hour to and from work, or going on a 30- to 40-minute run, will earn you around 50 points. The eight free beers offer only costs 250 points, and you can get 15% off anything on the Hoka One One website for just 200 points, so you can easily earn either of these in one week of commuting or training.
Once you’ve linked Running Heroes to Strava, Garmin Connect or whatever other app you use to track your activities, it will tot up all your points automatically so you can just check in occasionally to see what you’ve earned.
For some prizes, like the beer, you have to pay for postage or even collect it in person. The downside to the latter option is that you have to stick to your guns and be prepared to explain the whole thing to multiple members of staff who have never heard of Running Heroes.
If you’re heading to Le Pain Quotidien for avocado toast, for example, it’s worth getting the manager involved from the off – I found they were the only one who had any idea what I was talking about. Be pleasant, though – no-one likes the guy screeching for free toast because he ran a few times the previous week.