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?
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Every Friday it was the exact same thing. Log into DTMS, gather the data, redo calculations, and then plug answers into PowerPoint slides for the next Training Meeting. Initially this would take me around 2 hours to do, but eventually I got it down to 1 hour. What if I told you that you could do this in 5 min? Not only that, you could take the same information and with a couple clicks format it to your Company Training Meeting. Your saving grace is the PIVOT table.
PIVOT Tables are a tool in Excel that allow you to quickly analyze your data sets and make decisions off of them. I've included a YouTube example video (see below) working with weapons qualification data from DTMS. What I love most about PIVOT Tables are that once you make a PIVOT Table, you can can updated reports simply by pasting in new sets of raw data. Essentially all you have to do is set up your metrics once and you will always have your results at the push of a button. This will save Commanders/Staff Members/ Training rooms ridiculous amounts of time, allow you to streamline processes, and free up time to focus on more important things..
For more information, here's a link to a quick and easy tutorial: http://www.excel-easy.com/data-analysis/pivot-tables.html . If you've signed up for Lynda, I highly recommend taking their PIVOT Table courses. They will expand your skills so much more.
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I've heard many Army Officers get out, get an MBA, and do great things drawing on their experiences in the military. I'm trying to do something a little different. I'm going to earn an MBA, come back to the Army, and do great things for it by drawing on my experiences with the MBA program.
My name is Captain Dan Wagner. I'm an active duty Army Officer and a current student at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. I started this program last year right after leaving command at Fort Bliss, Texas. While working on my MBA, I have had a lot of time to reflect on things I did will well and things I failed at. I've also been introduced to multiple new systems and ways of doing things that truly opened my mind. I shared my initial insights with my former Lieutenants to ensure the knowledge could be passed off quickly. However I didn't feel this was good enough. Inspired by various Professional Military Facebook groups, my former Brigade Commander's blog, and empowered by my Digital Marketing class I decided to start my own blog. My hope with this blog is to create a forum where we can share ideas how to make the day to day, extremely unsexy, processes of the Army better and hopefully make many lives a lot less stressful. We all have unique points of view and experiences- I have been very fortunate to have my own and hope they provide some value to you.