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Inundation: A Lesson Learned

March 4, 2010 Fear, Fitness 1 Comment

Here’s a little bit of marketing research geekery that you might not know. I assume that if you have not been living under a rock for the past ~15 years, you are familiar with the “Got Milk?” campaign. Part of the research behind this campaign was an “inundation / deprivation study.” People who drank milk all the time were forced to stop drinking it and record their experiences, and people who never drank milk were forced to drink it and record their experiences.

As it turns out, the people who were already milk lovers felt a huge void in their lives without milk in it (cookies and OJ, anyone?), and those who hadn’t been milk groupies found a new love and need for it in their lives. It became a new way of life for them based on being inundated. Hooray for milk!

But let’s get back to the matter at hand: me. I was inundated with swimming based on the prescribed training regimen for a Half Ironman triathlon. I had to swim most days of the week (often in addition to another activity). Immediately following the swim clinic, I experienced several bad swims. I knew I was doing it wrong. It didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel smooth. It certainly did not feel natural. I was fighting myself and the water the whole time — and this was in a pool! What was going to happen in open water?!

And then it clicked.

I went every day and learned to think about different things while I was swimming. I learned to assume my legs were doing the right thing while I figured out how to complete a high-elbow-catch stroke. I learned how to engage my core to breathe properly. I learned how to leave my leading arm extended while my other arm caught up with it. Can you hear the clicking??

Open water swimming is on the calendar very soon and it will be a new ballgame then, but I am thrilled that I was forced to overwhelm myself with swimming immediately following the swim clinic so that it is now becoming almost second-nature and I actually look forward to the swim workouts on the calendar.

If you’re up for a challenge, choose something that has been just beyond reach or just outside of “pleasant” for you and inundate yourself with it for one full week. See what happens!


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  1. […] to catch my breath at the other side when I started, I have come a long way. I owe it all to that swim clinic, and the subsequent time I’ve spent in the pool practicing what I […]

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