Polar Flow Online Training Service Review

Polar Flow Online Training Servce
The Polar Flow online training service has excellent fitness graphing and route mapping and sharing capability. Polar

It seems like it's mandatory for any company that is offering GPS training and fitness devices to have a complementary online training log, and Polar is no exception, with its Flow service. I have reviewed the Polar V800 GPS sports watch, and the Polar V650 cyclecomputer with heart rate, so this rounds out the view of Polar products for the serious athlete.

Polar Flow and its free companion widget, FlowSync, are also your gateway to syncing data from your Polar devices and for keeping your device firmware up to date.

It's easy to sign up for Polar Flow, and when you do, you will provide information such as your age, height, and weight, to help tune your training and heart rate zones, for example. One plus for Flow compared to other online services, Polar's expertise in heart rate zone and interval training shine through in terms of superior training duration and intensity recommendations, as well as best-in-class graphical displays for heart rate parameters.

After you've done some workouts with a Polar device, simply log into Flow and install FlowSync per instructions, if you haven't already. When you connect your Polar device with its included USB cable, your workouts will automatically sync up to Flow.

After you have your initial data uploaded you can start to take advantage of Flow services. The Flow Feed tab presents your recent workouts by activity type (cycling, running, etc.), date, and activity time, and shows calories burned.

Flow also shows how much the activity counted toward your daily overall activity goal. Even walking steps are included if you wear the sports watch, for example.

Route Sharing
If you wish to share an activity with the Polar Flow community - a favorite bike training loop for example - you may do so my unlocking the private icon for the activity.

Activities are set to private by default.

The "Explore" tab in Flow presents you with a map including shared activities and route maps from other Flow users worldwide. This is a good way to connect with your regional community of athletes or to find good routes at your travel destinations. The Miami area, for example, shows hundreds of cycling, running, walking, swimming, and even golfing activities.

The Flow Diary presents you with a calendar view including a summary of any activity by day. Your diary also includes summary stats by week and by month, all without the need for you to do anything other than upload your data. That's one reason why I really like Flow and other online training services. They take the work out of keeping good training data while delivering all of the benefits.

Unique to Flow is a recovery status analysis, and specific recovery status recommendations. These appear in the diary calendar view as well.

Evaluating Progress
The Progress tab provides more great summary stats in a graphical view. Here you can see recovery status in graphical format, activity summary and activity score, activity broken out by type, and your progress toward your activity goals. The progress tab also shows your "best sessions" and provides a very interesting bar chart showing your training broken out by time in the various heart rate zones (zones one through five).

You may view progress by just about any time segment from day to year-long.

Overall, I found Polar Flow to be a terrific complement to the Polar devices I tested, and it is completely in keeping with Polar's detail-oriented, elite-athlete focus on heart rate training and recovery.