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How To Train For The Killington Spartan Race

The Spartan Race (particularly the Ultra) at Killington in Vermont is one the hardest obstacle course races in the world due to the extreme elevation gain (around 15,000ft in 32ish miles for the Ultra). As such, the DNF rate at this venue every year is astronomical. Here are some tips to beat Killington.


This article was written on (2/26/2024). At this point, you have about 7 months to train for the Killington Spartan Race. If you are not already a high level athlete, you'll probably need all of those months to prepare and perform well on race day. Start now. Now!...well, maybe after you finish reading the rest of this article.


If you've ever done a run with some big hills, you know that it is MUCH harder than running on mostly-flat surfaces. Try 15,000ft of hills and extremely long, steep climbs. If you haven't trained your muscles to handle that kind of stress, you are going to cramp, ache, and suffer through the majority of the race. You need to train on hills. Big hills. Mountains if you have them. If you don't have many hills, start training on a treadmill and progressively increase the incline percentage until you are walking on 15%+ inclines for 60+ minutes...or much more depending on HOW you'd like to finish the race.


I still remember sitting on the porch of a cabin in the Poconos writing the training plan for my first Spartan Ultra. I gave myself 17 weeks. In 17 weeks I wanted to be standing on the podium for my first ever Spartan Ultra. I put in over 500 miles of running, and consistently worked on my upper body and grip strength. 17 weeks later I took 3rd place. I'd love to help you complete your first Ultra OCR, compete in the competitive wave, or work toward a podium finish.



You might think this is obvious, but there are always people who think they'll just muscle through something without the specific training to do the thing. Even though you won't be able to run up 20%+ grades, running builds both your cardiovascular endurance and the strength-endurance in your lower body that will be ESSENTIAL for this event. Run, and run a LOT.


Hydration, electrolytes, and calories are also essential. If you become even slightly dehydrated (even a few percentage points) your performance will decrease. If your body doesn't have the fuel needed for an activity like this, your performance will decrease. You'll hurt faster and for longer, you'll be slower, and you might cramp more. Fueling is essential. You need to have a plan for fueling and you need to have practiced that plan extensively in training prior to the race to make sure that plan will work.


Let me put this bluntly. If you don't do the things listed above, you will fail. Is it POSSIBLE that someone makes it without doing the proper train-up? Yes. Is it likely? I don't know...ask the 80%+ DNF rate at the event every year.


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