I can't say I ever found that addiction and enjoyment in running like other people have. However, I do it because I know I have to and thus I don't have problems with my APFTs. There are some Soldiers who hate running, aren't good at it and fail PT tests. Part of me feels that physical fitness is a personal matter. You are either invested in it or not and you need to take ownership of your own health. The other part of me realizes that we invest a lot of time and money in training every Soldier and to let them fail without giving them the best chance for success is a problem.
Usually when we had PT failure, they were enrolled in a PT remediation program and were given the warning that they would have a retest in the next 90 days. If they failed this retest, we would proceed with chapter paperwork. The Soldier at this point looses all motivation and begins to under perform because they are depressed about the situation.
While I am not saying we can prevent all APFT failures, I do believe we can increase our chances of keeping more Soldiers by giving them the right tools. Taken straight from their website "MapMyRun...provide users with the ability to map, record and share their exercise routes and workouts with each other. MapMyRun is part of the world’s largest digital health and fitness community." I have used this website/app for nearly five years now and have seen improvements in my own health and physical fitness. The site/app allows you to track workouts by either entering data, uploading data, or tracking in real time through your cellphone. It allows you to track calories you consume and then provides your net daily calorie balance taking in to account what workouts you've done. It allows you to enroll in training programs for running distances (2.5k, 5k, 10k, etc), provides detailed daily workout plans, and tailors them to your actual fitness. It even allows you to connect with other people so that you see each others workout achievements and help motivate each other. Best of all it is all free (though you can pay a monthly ($5.99) or yearly ($24.99) MVP membership fee for additional features).
So lets come back to the PT failure scenario, but look at it in a new light. A Soldier fails his APFT. He is flagged, initiates chapter paperwork , and is counseled by his Squad Leader. In the counseling the Squad Leader tells the Soldier that they must create an account on Mapmyrun. They are encouraged to sign up for an MVP account to have access to the training plans. They are told that they will log all platoon morning workouts daily and they will record all runs with their cell phone. They will friend request their Squad Leader so that they can monitor progress and help motivate them. Over the next 90 days the Soldier logs all workouts. They see their progress and improvement as run times are going down. They feel confident that when their next APFT comes they will be able to pass with ease.
Doesn't this seem like the Soldier is set up for greater success? Don't you think they have a better chance of not only passing their next APFT but also improving their lifelong fitness goals? Of course, these apps will never replace the responsibility leaders have in the role of training their Soldiers. But in the end putting the right tools in the hands of Leaders and Soldiers can help us create a stronger organization.
We know there are other apps out there (Nike+, Runtastic, Stava, etc). Has anyone ever used these? Are they any better then the features offered in Mapmyrun?
If you have thoughts on the article you just read, please leave some comments for the group. If you’d like to continue following this blog, sign up for our newsletter or add our RSS Feed to your Feedly account to know when new content is posted