Leave No Stone Unturned in Training


Posted by Coach Aaron Scheidies

My years of competing as an elite athlete have taught me many things about training, mental mindset, life-training balance and nutrition. One of the biggest lessons it has taught me is to leave no stone unturned in training. Many athletes get so caught up in what everyone around them is saying or doing that they fail to prepare for each and every aspect of the next race on their calendar.

What do I mean by leave no stone unturned? This means finding out about the course, climate, terrain and competition and simulating these things at race speed in your training. The key to that last sentence is "at race speed" and this is the aspect that most overlook. 

Here are a few examples to help understand what I mean by this. 

Swim to Run Transitions

Most everyone practices their bike to run transitions and they are important but how often do you hear about people practicing transitioning from swim to run? The distance from swim exit to transition can be 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile and going from a horizontal position of swimming to an upright position of running quickly can significantly drop your blood pressure (BP) and throw the vestibular system out of whack. Adding training sessions that include the final 200m of the swim followed by a one mile run can help train your body to better regulate its BP and prevent the shock that may occur from doing this the first time during race day. I even suggest doing 3-4 of these swim/run transitions within one workout to help with skill retention of this movement.

Unusual Circumstances

Some races like Escape from Alcatraz have unusual obstacles such as stairs within the run. In fact, this race has over 400 steps to climb during the 8 mile long run. Many people training for this race do include stairs in their training but do not interchange stairs and running multiple times within one session. Furthermore, people forget the importance of performing these brick workouts at race speed. Performing these workouts at race speed will help your body more quickly make these transitions on race day.

The stairs example with Alcatraz is just one example of a race situation that is unique. Some other unusual circumstances may include extremely cold water, technical trail running, and short steep climbs requiring getting out of the saddle on the bike.

Passing & Changing Speeds

One thing that most athletes neglect in their training is the correct way to pass another competitor on the course. When approaching another competitor in the race you want to take a deep breath to gather yourself especially if your body is in a near anaerobic state. Next, you want to perform a quick burst of ten to fifteen seconds at a much faster pace before settling back into your steady state race pace. This short burst when passing a competitor is done to mentally defeat the competitor and create a quick gap between the two of you. Without including burst efforts in your training, it will be very difficult to return to your steady state race pace right away. Workouts that include ten to twenty minutes at tempo pace with ten second anaerobic bursts every other minute will help your ability to perfect the pass of your competition in your next race.


The above examples should give you a few things to think about as you train for your upcoming race. Take the time to learn about any unusual circumstances that you may encounter and include simulation of these at race pace in your training. By doing this you will leave no stone unturned and will be just a little bit more prepared than your competition.


Coach Aaron Scheidies is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and licensed Physical Therapist. A graduate from Michigan State University with a degree in Exercise Physiology, Aaron has coached World Champion Paratriathletes as well as Ironman World Championship qualifiers. While at Michigan State University, Aaron was the President and Founder of the MSU Triathlon Club and he has also played an integral part in paving the way for future growth in the Paratriathlon sport. Aaron is an 11 time World Paratriatlhon Champion and has set the World’s fastest time for anyone with a disability at both the Olympic (1:57:24) and Ironman 70.3 distances. (4:09:54). He can be reached at aaron@teamMPI.com

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