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How To NOT DNF at Killington

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

In 2019, the DNF rate at Killington was insanely high, and we felt obligated to help people train so that a DNF rate like that one would never happen again. As a result, we offered 3 months of free training to anyone who emailed us and asked. Only a few people took us up on the offer...because...who knows. We don't have the time to offer free training again, but with an astonishingly high DNF rate at Killington again (seemingly over 80% from the online stats), we have to do something.

Here are training formulas to conquer both the Killington Beast and Ultra. The breakdown and day-to-day details for the formula are what smart and efficient programming are for, but this is the broad answer you need to not DNF at Killington again.


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Elevation Gain Training:

If you want to complete the Killington Ultra, you will need to have trained a minimum of 40,000ft of elevation gain prior. That's minimum. To condition your body the best you possibly can, I HIGHLY recommend getting that number over 60,000ft commutatively. Data from lots of the Killington racers in 2021 had the Ultra over 15,000ft of elevation gain. You may be tempted to think that you only need 20,000-30,000ft in training. You're wrong. 40,000ft AT MINIMUM. For the Beast, shoot for a minimum of 25,000ft. Ideal is closer to 30,000ft.

How to get that training? Run in the mountains. Walk and jog on incline treadmills. Use the stair master. Use multiple-story flights of stairs. In an ideal world, train on mountains. Next best, incline treadmill walking at greater than 15% incline. You should build up to training at 30% inclines if you can get access to a treadmill with that capability. You should practice jogging at inclines of at least 15% as you build up your training. Keep in mind that a 30 minute incline training session every now and then won't cut it. You'll be on the slopes of Killington for hours and hours and hours. 30 minutes doesn't prepare your muscles for diddle-squat no matter how hard you work. For this I'd have a client walk on a 20% incline for 80 minutes 100x before I'd have them do a 30 minute interval session on a 10% incline. Time on incline is what matters most for a race like Killington.


7 Training Days Per Week

The Ultra OCR training program demands dedication and determination. Athletes need to allow at least 12 weeks of training prior to their Ultra. Each week, you'll have 6 days of training followed by a 7th day of fully programmed recovery work. If you're ready for the challenge, sign up now.


Distance Training:

For the Killington Ultra, you should train a minimum of 450 miles of running training. Ideal, 550+ miles. Yes, those miles can, and should, include your elevation training. They don't always have to, but as long as you are staying healthy and programming well, the more you can train specifically for the event, the better you'll perform at the event.

For the Beast, you need a minimum of 350 miles of running. The ideal number would be over 400 miles. Just like the ultra, of course your elevation training is mixed with that number.

Carry Training:

The heavy carries (sandbags, buckets, etc.) on a long mountain course are exhausting. Train for them. You can practice carrying sandbags, buckets, kettlebells, and dumbbells on incline treadmills. You can practice carrying them on hills outdoors. All will help prepare your body for that task on race day. Personally, and depending on how strong a client currently is, I'd recommend you have 1 day per week with heavy carry work programmed in. If you know you aren't very strong or good at heavy carries, make that twice per week and build up the weight over time. Use different tools for the carries (as listed above) if at all possible to challenge your body in every way and prepare it fully for the race.


This is short and sweet. Stay properly hydrated every single day of every single week. That's all.

In summary: To not DNF at Killington, you need to:


-Run at least 450 miles in training. (550+ ideal)

-Hit 40,000ft of elevation gain in training. (60,000+ ideal)

-Do one day per week of heavy carry training. (2 per week if you know you struggle with heavy carries)

-Hydrate every single day.


-Run at least 350 miles in training. (400+ ideal)

-Hit at least 25,000ft of elevation gain in training. (30,000+ ideal)

-Do one day per week of heavy carry training. (2 per week if you know you struggle with heavy carries)

-Hydrate every single day.

Success is 100% about preparation. Preparing to these standards will lead you to success.


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