Choosing a good running app to accompany you on your fitness journey is the easiest and cheapest way to start getting fit and in better shape. It seems simple enough at first glance - there are quite a number of running apps available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. They all do the same thing in general, using the GPS on your fitness wearable to track your running distance and speed.
Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll find that each app has distinctively different features and prices. Does a free app really give you what you need in the long run? We’ve done the legwork and found that Polar Flow has the top features you should be looking for in a running app. Here’s why.
Checkpoint 1: Training Programs
Most apps available charge you a premium for specialised training programs. However, the free Polar Flow web service, also free to download as an app on Google Play and the Apple App Store has a personalised running program for 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon races. This dedicated program is devised based on your training history, or if you’re brand new to running, through your self-evaluation to determine how it would be like.
The free Polar Flow running program is divided into three phases. The base building phase lays the foundation with progressive and light training for four weeks. The next 9-15 weeks is the build up phase, where training gets progressively harder. The final period leading up to your big run is the tapering phase, where the program will scale back training closer to the big moment as you shouldn’t be training too hard.
Checkpoint 2: Variety is key
Imagine running the same stretch outside your house, or the same running path in your nearby park day after day. Polar Flow switches things up before you get bored. The running program will recommend five different running workouts: easy jog, medium run, long run, tempo run and interval, adding variety to your daily runs and helps boost your performance faster than repetitive runs.
Beyond the running program, the Polar Flow app also has guided supportive exercise videos for download that you can do at home or while travelling. These exercises improve your core, muscle strength, mobility and addresses problems commonly faced by runners, in turn reducing risk of injury.
Checkpoint 3: Reap the benefits
Not only should a running app be easy and enjoyable to use, it should also be able to tell you how well your training has progressed, with a tailored feedback based on stats important to you.
Some apps display this on a very confusing UI. On the Polar Flow app, it’s easy to understand the effects of your training between sessions, and how each session has benefitted you. This can be shown by days, weeks or months. It’s even able to give you a post-workout feedback on a run you just finished, and how much calories you’ve burnt based on your heart rate. Just don’t use it as an excuse to extend your cheat day.
Checkpoint 4: Review your progress
The best running apps tell you a lot more than just statistics of how well you did. The Polar Flow app has a Running Index report that gives you a deep insight into your running performance. The Index can also generate predictions for certain running distances, to give you a guide whether you can hit your upcoming 10k in less than an hour.
Another great feature on Polar Flow is Relive. You get a visualised Google Street View review of your run, along with all the vital info like your pace, heart rate, duration and distance taken. So you’ll know exactly at which points of your run you’ve improved in the last couple of months.
Checkpoint 5: Motivation goes a long way
For some, simply logging in your run and reviewing your progress in the app is motivation enough. Others need a little more boost to get off the sofa and start running on a daily basis.
It can be motivating to compare your runs with those of your friends, and the Polar Flow app lets you do just that. Simply add your friends and measure up their running progress to yours the next time you run together (and if they aren’t, it’s time to get them started too).
There’s also a social side to Polar Flow. You can search for other runners, show them support for their achievements and even drop a comment for advice on how they tackled their run. Sharing your workouts has been proven to keep you motivated to your running program, and moral support is always a powerful tool.
Pair it with Polar GPS sports watches
If you like the Polar Flow app, you can make the most out of it with a Polar GPS sports watches like the Polar M200, Polar M400, Polar M600 or Polar V800. Designed for runners, these Polar devices measure your heart rate and come with plenty of features to guide your training and give you feedback about your progress. Check them out here.