In an XTERRA World Championship, athletes compete by swimming a mile, mountain biking 20 miles, and then running six miles, all in one day. Athletes compete on different terrains and environments. Swimming could be in a river, lake, or ocean. Biking could be a combination of a well-groomed trail that turns into a grueling 3,500-foot climb. In addition, running could be through a forest that leads into miles of beach sand.
Twelve-time XTERRA U.S. National Champion and 2015 XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh, MS, ’12, has trained his entire life to be an endurance athlete. He is a peak performer who coaches other athletes to achieve their best. However, he came to a professional racing career crossroads in 2010.
“I had just undergone my fifth knee surgery, and my future in the sport of triathlon was uncertain,” Josiah says. “I had been personal training and coaching for a decade at that point, but I felt I needed something to separate myself from the pack in a highly unregulated industry.”
After researching ATSU’s Human Movement program, he seized the educational opportunity. During his ATSU journey, he learned to define his coaching philosophy as well as how to incorporate evidence-based methods to improve training for his clients and enhance his approach to endurance training from the perspective of a coach and an elite athlete.
“The key for my endurance training is to sift through training approaches and short-term studies and decide how or if some of them can be applied to proven traditional methods,” he says.
With previous experience as a coach and an athlete, Josiah and his equally accomplished brother, Yaro, established Middaugh Coaching in 2012. Working with athletes of all abilities and ages, their purpose is to set realistic goals for individuals and use performance metrics to guide and improve their training.
By avoiding trickle-down training methods of elite athletes, Josiah and Yaro review an individual’s training history, current fitness level, goals, and available time to train and use that information to generate the most effective training program and schedule for that individual. Depending on the athlete’s needs, Middaugh Coaching offers remote coaching, training camps, small-group training, and one-on-one sessions.
“Endurance athletes are not born – they’re made,” says Josiah. “It’s incredible to see what people can achieve when they put their mind to it.”
Now at age 40, Josiah is an endurance athlete of all seasons by competing in snowshoe races, mountain biking, trail running, and triathlons. While participating in grueling events that fulfill his spirit of adventure, he finds great rewards in coaching athletes. He says guiding people toward the best shape of their lives is as much about the journey as the destination.