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4 weeks to go, please advise?

philipc67

New Member
Hello all,

Yesterday (Sunday) during training I managed 21km in 4.5 hours on a hilly path terrain (not very steep), with a nearly full backpack (7.5kg, only toiletries, first aid/blister kit and essentials like passport, money etc missing).
My thighs are a bit stiff today but no blisters or major complaints.

I can only walk 10-12 km on weekdays due to work etc.
Is this OK at this stage pre-departure? I plan to start from Roncesvalles on 20 September, hoping to do the Camino in 30-33 days.

Should I reduce the backpack weight a bit?
Re backpack, should I pack trekking gloves? I found them essential last Xmas when I walked the Arthur's Pass in New Zealand, but that was VERY steep up and down, having to hold on to branches and trees, with tiny muddy forest paths, wet river crossings, wire bridges etc, I know the Camino Frances is easier re terrain. Are gloves necessary during climbs/in the rain?

Do the albergues offer food? Should I buy sandwiches, fruit etc on the way from villages and shops? I am not planning to carry any cooking utensils.

Any advice from people who have been through it would be very helpful.

Many thanks
Philip
 
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Hermanita

Active Member
philipc67 said:
My thighs are a bit stiff today but no blisters or major complaints.

I can only walk 10-12 km on weekdays due to work etc.
Is this OK at this stage pre-departure? I plan to start from Roncesvalles on 20 September, hoping to do the Camino in 30-33 days.

Should I reduce the backpack weight a bit?
Many thanks
Philip

Hi Philip
I am not an experienced camino walker yet. I will walk in September for the first time.
But about the legs being stiff.

My husband is a runner and thought he was "fit"enough to bypass all the walk training I am doing with loaded backpack.
Then one day he put on his fully loaded pack and walked with me for 4 hours. He was lame for 3 days!
He now walks a few times a week with pack and has no problem with stiff legs or lameness.

As for reducing the weight, I think not. I walk with 20 pounds which is more than the weight I will carry. My thought is that my pack will feel so much lighter when I do walk the camino with a lighter pack.
As all the people in this forum keep advising...take the first week easy and you should be fine.

I hope you have a wonderful time!!
 

Frogmarch

New Member
philipc67 said:
Yesterday (Sunday) during training I managed 21km in 4.5 hours on a hilly path terrain (not very steep), with a nearly full backpack..
My thighs are a bit stiff today but no blisters or major complaints...
I can only walk 10-12 km on weekdays due to work etc.
Is this OK at this stage pre-departure?
I am impressed! I hope to start on 8 September and am nowhere near your level of training. :oops: I only do about 6 km six days a week with a little longer from time to time. Guess I'd better double the dose. At least.
Although I have no experience of walking the Camino, I think (from what I've read) you are doing far more than 90 % of those who attempt the Camino. Congratulations!
 
We did the camino last year (April-June 2008), starting in Le Puy en Velay.

Apologize for not following your order of questions.

No real need for gloves, unless you envision sustained cold weather (below 10 degrees Celsius).

Do recommend that you try to adhere to recommended backpack weight of no more than 10 percent of your body weight. You can make do with two pairs of clothes, although you might need a jacket if you are going into October. You also need something for wet weather.

Your training sounds adequate. The only realy steep point in our opinion is the Route Napoleon between St. Jena Pied de Port and Roncevalles, and that is really only the first 10-12 kilometers, especially between Honto and Orisson. At about kilometer 13 it levels off, and the last six or so kilometers are downhill.

The next really uphill portion is Alto de person outside Pamplona. It is about nine kilometers uphill, but you actually go up the side of the hill rather thna straight over. Consequently it is a realtively gentle incline, albeit long. Again, the downhill is steeper than the uphill.

The rest of the camino is relatively flat. Cruz de Ferro is the high point of the Camino Frances, but again, it is a gentle walk from Astorga. The walk from Ponferrada to O Cebrerio looks steep, but we found it hardly slowed us down as it was only really uphill the last five kilometers or so. Staying the night was worth while.

As most postings here and Mundicamino will indicate, relatively few albergues in Sapin (unlike gites in France) have communal meals as an option. But all but the smallest town with an albergue also has a ubiquituous bar, which will invaraibly have either a "pilgrims meal" (approx. 10 euros), or sell sandwiches. We ate donuts that we got in a bar for breakfast, an apple or other item of fruit for lunch, and a full menu de pelegrino meal in the evening without feeling starved at all.

We left St. Jean and arrived at Roncevalles on 25 May and arrived in Santiago on 25 June. This included a rest day in Leon. There are sound thelogical reasons for doing the 33 or 34 days, based on the years Christ lived on earth. But we found instead that we did not really feel that we had done a real day's walk with less than 20 kilometers. Over 30, however, was a long day for us. Consequently you should be able to do it in 30 days or so, barring any major injury that we make you rest more than a day or two.

We envy you at this point and wish you luck.
 

katja

New Member
I've just got back from the Camino and did very minimal training (10km walks for a week, without a backpack) and my friend did none and we still managed it with no difficulties so I don't think you need to worry too much about the training. I think as long as you are relatively fit and active normally, you'll be able to do it. As long as you don't get blisters. I now swear by 1000 mile socks which kept us blister free for the duration.

We did the last 211km in 8 days which gave us an average of 26km a day which was ok but by no means easy, particularly in the heat. The most difficult one for us was the climb to O Cebreiro and to then find that there was absolutely no accommodation available was a bit of a low point. We managed to get ourselves into a Casa Rural nearby but I would definitely recommend booking ahead for Cebreiro which is notorious for lack of accommodation. Otherwise we had no problems even though we were doing it in August. I would definitely recommend Casa Mergade for a bit of luxury at 99km. Twin rooms cost 27e and are very clean and comfortable. Staff are friendly and food and drink are good and affordable.

We never had any real trouble finding food although at times we had to walk a bit further than we would have liked. I would definitely recommend packing a bag of trail mix or similar to tide you over any unexpected delays.
Buen Camino!
 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
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The xunta albergue at O Cebreiro does not take reservations, so be prepared with some phone numbers for hostals/hotels in the area. Most of the places in Triacastela take reservations as do Alto de Poio and Fonfria.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
philipc67 said:
I found them essential last Xmas when I walked the Arthur's Pass in New Zealand, but that was VERY steep up and down, having to hold on to branches and trees, with tiny muddy forest paths, wet river crossings, wire bridges etc, I know the Camino Frances is easier re terrain.
Philip

Philip, if you have walked on tracks near Arthur's Pass, you will indeed find the terrain of the Camino Frances much easier. Even the climb over the Pyrenees, while steep and long, might surprise you with its 'easiness', as the first long section of it is on a quiet paved road. All the best for your Camino!
Margaret
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
You will have to walk on average 24 kms per day to finish in 33 days. This is a very achievable goal. A pace that is quite common among the pilgrims.

No worries... Have a blast.
David, Victoria, Canada.
 

Pacharan

Member
Hi Philip,
Training...hmmmm I am writing this from the comfort of a padded chair, still in my dressing gown, and drinking tea...I think you are doing plenty. I am starting just 1 day ahead of you so I think you are likely to catch me up. :D
Seriously though, everyone has to do their own level and type of training, dependent on age, fitness, health, time available etc. Miles and miles of training beforehand is right for one person but may not suit or be available to another.
My training? Daily stretching and strengthening for ankles, hips and back (as recommended by physio), several trips to gym per week doing mixture of cardio and weights, short/medium/long walks on varied terrain (urban, parkland, country tracks) with small pack to break in new boots. I have done a few long-distance paths so used to wearing a big pack.
Whilst I have never done the Camino before, from my previous walk experience I would advise people not to overtrain in the few weeks before they go just in case of a last minute injury, but do make sure those new boots/shoes etc are broken in properly. Do pare down your pack to minimum and don't walk too far too fast in first few days, until you are comfortable with your own pace. And have a rest day or 2.
And yes I will be taking gloves (sealskinz waterproof) because I am a dreadful wimp when it rains...
 
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