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Don’t stop now! The Polar Running Program helps you train for a marathon

If you’re training for a marathon or another long-distance run, it’s often useful to have a personalized trainer — of either the human or software variety. Unfortunately, while plenty of fitness trackers on the market offer guidance, few of them tailor their suggestions to your needs and your performance for specific situations like marathon runs. Polar is hoping to change that.

The company has just launched the Polar Running Program, a free training service available through the Polar Flow app, designed specifically for those training for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon.

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“We show users what their data means, and we use it to provide guidance on how to improve performance and meet training goals,” said Marco Suvilaakso, global product director at Polar. “The running program takes this coaching to the next level and creates a personal running plan that fits beginners as well as more seasoned professionals.”

To begin, you select one of the four events, after which the app will select a training program that depends on your activity level, the event you want to complete, and so on. The number of days per week that you train will also vary depending on things like current fitness level and training history. As you proceed with the training, the Running Program will adapt to your progress, helping you achieve your goals and improve your fitness.

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As the service works through the Polar Flow website and app, you’ll need a Polar fitness tracker to take full advantage of it, and if you use the Polar M400 or the V800 you’ll get live advice as you train. You’ll also be able to see things like target heart rate zones and target training durations. Other Polar fitness trackers, including the Polar Loop, Polar Loop 2, and Polar Beat are compatible with Polar Flow, but may not offer all the same features, such as real-time suggestions.

Polar is likely hoping that the new service will give the Polar Flow app a little more credibility — the Android version sits at three stars and the iOS version at a lackluster two stars. MapMyRun, by comparison, also offers training plans for runners and has 4.5 stars on both the App Store and Google Play.

It’s certainly an interesting idea to have a service for a specific sporting event. Sure, there are fitness apps out there that help you achieve your fitness goals, like Runtastic Pro, but it’s nice to see another option tailored to helping you train for a specific achievement rather than to generally get or stay fit. The new service is available now for any Polar Flow users.

Polar Flow available on: iTunes Google Play