Throughout his 20+ year professional multi-sport career, XTERRA legend and multisport athlete Josiah Middaugh somehow managed to avoid racing a straight-up road marathon. Recently he checked that off his list, clocking a staggering 5:41 min/mi average. His secret weapon, which he applied both in training and during the race, is something that every athlete—at every level—can run with! Also, learn more about Josiah Middaugh joining GO Sleeves as the Head of Performance Science, as well as some of his best training and race tips.
By Josiah Middaugh - Head of Performance Science for GO Sleeves
At age 44, I decided it was time to scratch “Marathon” from my bucket list. Part of the reason I always gravitated towards triathlons early in my career was to cross-train for running. Knee surgery in college meant I couldn’t handle the high-mileage weeks of a pure runner. So I was a little nervous about the mileage required to run my desired time in a road marathon. However, since training with GO Sleeves Calf Sleeves and noticing how they’ve impacted my training, I was curious how my “new” secret weapon might make a difference in running a marathon on the pavement.
The course I chose in Mesa, Arizona, was point-to-point with a net elevation drop, which meant my body needed to be prepared to handle the pavement pounding. For some reason, I chose to train through the harshest winter I had ever seen in the mountains around Vail, Colorado. Just as my mileage was ramping up, winter weather rolled in. I did nearly 100% of my running on snow-covered roads and paths. Two out of three runs were with yak tracks.
An essential part of my injury-prevention plan included the GO Sleeves Calf Sleeves, which combine compression and kinesiology strips. I started out wearing them for every long run and critical training session. After a few weeks, I wore them for any run over 6 miles. My Achilles tendons have given me some problems in the past, and I noticed a big difference if I forgot to wear the calf sleeves for any medium- to long-distance run. I was very concerned about a lower leg injury. Over a few weeks, I ramped my mileage to about 80 miles per week, averaging 85 miles per week for eight weeks (avg. 12+ miles per day). I was shocked that I was able to handle that much running volume.
Since all of my training was at high altitudes, above 7,000 ft—and on snow—I was very concerned about the speed of the race. To break 2 hours 30 minutes, I would need to average about 5:40 minutes per mile, which I couldn’t simulate in those conditions. Cardiovascularly, I was ready for the effort, but my body would take a beating in the race. I wasn’t sure my biomechanics would hold up, and the risk of injury was high.
Fast forward to the race. The pace was hot from the start, and I went through the half marathon at 1:12, about 5:30 min/mi pace. Around mile 9, my quads and hamstrings started to talk to me. They weren’t fully prepared to hold that pace for that long. Over the second half of the race, my energy level was good, but my quads and hamstrings got progressively tighter and more painful. Interestingly, my calves were fine (I was wearing my GO Sleeves calf sleeves). I held on to finish the race in 2:29:13, averaging 5:41 minutes per mile.
Almost immediately, and in the days following, my quads and hamstrings were debilitatingly sore, but my calves where I wore the GO Sleeves were excellent, but I know they did the lion’s share of the work. Here is what I learned training and competing with GO Sleeves:
- They are not braces. Instead of constricting, GO Sleeves provided solid support but with a full range of motion, which is an absolute must during training and, of course, when competing. But even with that sense of freedom, at no point during the marathon did I feel the sleeves were bunching or rolling—that can be a huge distraction.
- GO Sleeves promote active recovery. This was an absolute game-changer in the days following the race! GO Sleeves reduce fatigue, which drives a faster recovery. By lifting and stretching the skin to increase my body’s recuperating blood and lymphatic flow, GO Sleeves activate my body’s natural ability to reduce lactic-acid build-up and speed up recovery. So while the rest of my body suffered, no wonder my calves fared so well.
GO Sleeves are my secret weapon in training and competing for anything. Now, if GO Sleeves can dial in a full-body suit, I will be all set!!
Josiah Middaugh is a 15-Time XTERRA USA Off-Road Triathlon National Champion and 2015 XTERRA World Champion.
Recent XTERRA Hall-of-Fame inductee Josiah Middaugh’s achievements precede him with 15 XTERRA USA National Championship wins, a 2015 XTERRA World Champion Title, 3 Fat Bike World Championship wins, and 6 USSSA National Snowshoe Championships. He’s a pro on and off the track, with a Master's degree in Kinesiology and his own premier athlete coaching business. Middaugh understands the importance of injury prevention, management, and recovery – making him the perfect GO Sleeves team athlete to share how GO Sleeves have helped him and the clients he coaches in their recovery and training regimens.
Learn more about Josiah’s coaching practice for endurance athletes at middaughcoaching.com.