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Completing the French Way in 28 days

Happyinharrogate

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk this year 2020 in September
Would be interested in anyones views about whether completing the whole of the French Way starting in St Jean in 28 days ( walking) is achievable. I would plan to build in rest days after each 7 days. Total duration of around 32 days. I have walked 200 miles previously in one stretch over 14 days which was a little less in terms of pace and average distance, but still sounds possible. Would be interested in others views of those who have done this in such time or others who have maybe found this too challenging?
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Too challenging for me for sure, but each person is different. Others may be able to - there is one of the forums members that consistently walks 40km/day, while most of us stay on the 20km mark.

Out of curiosity, do you have a reason to be so specific about timings? And do you have to start in St Jean?
Would it give you enough time to be able to explore all the incredible historical cities? Would you be able to change plans mid-way? As long as you are comfortable with the plan, you should be fine. :)

Personally, I would probably start slightly closer to Santiago (Pamplona) and leave more flexibility to spend time in some places. More than planning rest days, I'd rest when my body tells me to.

Like you, I am curious to hear from the faster/longer walkers in the forum as well :)
 

Happyinharrogate

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk this year 2020 in September
Too challenging for me for sure, but each person is different. Others may be able to - there is one of the forums members that consistently walks 40km/day, while most of us stay on the 20km mark.

Out of curiosity, do you have a reason to be so specific about timings? And do you have to start in St Jean?
Would it give you enough time to be able to explore all the incredible historical cities? Would you be able to change plans mid-way? As long as you are comfortable with the plan, you should be fine. :)

Personally, I would probably start slightly closer to Santiago (Pamplona) and leave more flexibility to spend time in some places. More than planning rest days, I'd rest when my body tells me to.

Like you, I am curious to hear from the faster/longer walkers in the forum as well :)
Thanks Anamya. My start dates are fixed but my end date is flexible. I take the point about taking the time to take it all in en route, and trying to balance this with setting myself some personal challenges/ goals. Will research more if I will miss anything from starting somewhere else further along. Wasn’t sure if the first few stages were something not to miss.
 

Poppy-Pete

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, leaving SJPDP from 10/11 May (2018)
Happyinharrogate you haven't indicated your age or fitness level. I was 59 when I walked the Frances and planned on completing it over 33 days, with planned rest days. I felt fine after a nights sleep and didn't end up taking rest days and due to a couple of wrong turns missed my planned stops and ended up walking further. I finished it in 26 days. Some people will tell you to take your time, but if going at your speed is your thing, then do what feels right for you.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Some people will tell you to take your time, but if going at your speed is your thing, then do what feels right for you.
That is exactly what "Take your time" means, right? :) Everyone's rhythm is different. I totally agree with you that people should do what feels right for them.

My last camino was done with my husband (also Aussie, military dude) recovering from a seizure. We walked at snail pace (for us), around 15km a day. The previous one, in Portugal, we had some 30-odd km days and didn´t even feel tired.


trying to balance this with setting myself some personal challenges/ goals.

Awesome, I really hope you find the right balance for yourself :)
Another option is to start in St Jean, walk a few days to find your pace and, if you feel like you may be running out of time, just rent a push bike to cross the mesta a bit quicker, or maybe take a bus to shorter a stage or two.

If you want the Compostela document in the end, you cannot shorten the last 100km, from sarria onwards. If you are just looking for the Distance certificate, or no certificate at all, you are free to do anything.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Would be interested in anyones views about whether completing the whole of the French Way starting in St Jean in 28 days ( walking) is achievable. I would plan to build in rest days after each 7 days. Total duration of around 32 days. I have walked 200 miles previously in one stretch over 14 days which was a little less in terms of pace and average distance, but still sounds possible. Would be interested in others views of those who have done this in such time or others who have maybe found this too challenging?
for me, the Camino is not a marathon race. The Camino is an experience of peace and tranquility for me so I take my time which I have and rest days.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Happyinharrogate it is definitely doable for the young, or/and the fit, and definitely not doable for me. Having a flexible end date is the way to go. My best time was 33 days. Buen Camino!
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Is completing the whole of the French Way starting in St Jean in 28 days (walking) achievable.
My wife and I have a dog that needs his exercise. So I'm used to walking longer distances throughout the year (my dog doesn't care about wind, rain, hail or snow, he just wants to go). So I'm in pretty good walking condition all year long.

To me distances between 25 and 35 km. are comfortable for me (a bit depending on the terrain). I can also manage (and enjoy!!!) the odd 40 or 45 km. I really enjoy starting to walk before sunrise and stopping sometime in the afternoon.

So completing the Frances in 28 days is doable. The first time I walked the Frances I did it in 26 days (a daily average of about 30 km. per day I guess), without taking rest days. Which proved to me to be a very comfortable way of doing so, without ever 'rushing' it. I really enjoy walking longer distances. And at the same time I still got to become part of a 'Camino family': it turned out there are more pilgrims that enjoy walking daily distances like me.

But there is also a downside: the longer the distances you're used to, the sooner your Camino is over. On the other hand, I also have the experience that if I try walking in an other way than my natural way of walking, I don't get to enjoy it that much. To me, the walking itself is very meditative and helps me to contemplate.

I don't know if my experiences are of any help. The best advice I can give you is: take advantage of the experiences of other people. Take them into consideration (they might have something meaningful to tell you). But, in the end, try to figure out which way of walking suits you. If you plan 28 walking days it would mean a daily average of 800/28 = 28,5 km.

If you can manage a couple of day extra there are a few options:
- shorter daily distances and therefore taking more time to reach Santiago
- extend the Frances by walking to either Muxia or Finisterre
- enjoy Santiago for a day or two (which I can also recommend!!!!!!!!!!)

It'll be your Camino and it should feel like it truly is your Camino. Have fun preparing for your way.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Would be interested in anyones views about whether completing the whole of the French Way starting in St Jean in 28 days ( walking) is achievable.
Yes, it is.
I have walked the CF in July 2019 in 27 days. I'm not well trained nor a couch potatoe.
Just an average guy in his end 40s (at July 2019).
27 / 28 days feels a bit rushy, but you will stop or do a break whenever you find something interesting or the need to rest.

But you won't do the "whole" french way. The pilgrimage starts at your porch. SJPdP is nowadays a convenient starting-point just before the Pyrenees. It was used for ages by the french, german, scandinavian and east-european pilgrims to rest, recover and building comradeships before they walk into the high mountains.
 

Tony Murray

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from León to Santiago (2017)
The Camino is not a race (against others or yourself ). I am planning my 4th Camino in June. I have being doing it in stages. First I cycled it from Leon, then for the past two years walking from SJPP. This year I plan to walk it from Leon to SdC. But I can truly say it is not about getting there. It's the journey, not the destination that's important. Remember, you will arrive in the Praza do Obradoiro (Santiago de Compostela) a pilgrim and leave a tourist. I actually found within a few minutes of arrival I was just a little flat. All my great memories have been with other people on the way, taking time to talk and to go with the flow--sometime fast and sometimes slow. Time is the gift of the Camino not the Compostela (that's for the wall).
 

Tony Murray

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from León to Santiago (2017)
This guy completed the French Way in 26 days and recorded every day as a video for YouTube.

Day 1 here:

SJPP to Ronceveaux
I followed Derek too. Being from Ireland I was particularly interested in his experience. I heard him on a radio interview recently (https://www.rte.ie/radio1/ryan-tubr...-ryan-tubridy-show-thursday-12-december-2019/). Keep in mind that he is [almost] a professional walker. Most of us mere mortals are not as fit or in my case a young as Derek. Have a look at Efrén González YouTube channel on the Camino (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_foCJwTjDnfoMUXxcw6V8g). His pace was a lot closer to I think the average walker.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Not everybody has unlimited time for the Camino - conversely if you must stay in albergues then you will be limited in the number of hours that you can walk each day - don't bother with rest days - try walking 28km at home and see how long it takes you - I did it in 20 days (and I'm no Spring chicken) but then I do enjoy walking
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Would be interested in anyones views about whether completing the whole of the French Way starting in St Jean in 28 days ( walking) is achievable. I would plan to build in rest days after each 7 days. Total duration of around 32 days. I have walked 200 miles previously in one stretch over 14 days which was a little less in terms of pace and average distance, but still sounds possible. Would be interested in others views of those who have done this in such time or others who have maybe found this too challenging?
Yes, the Frances is very doable in 28 days. I suggest that unless you need a rest day, do not take one. Do a short day where you get up late, walk 10k, and stop early.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
The Camino is not a race (against others or yourself ).
I agree. But that doesn't mean that someone who walks in less time than yourself is necessarily racing. They may just enjoy walking more hours in the day. I walked my first Camino Frances in 23 days at a time when that was nothing unusual - refugios were often far apart, private accommodation was very limited, and there was no bed race to persuade people that 1pm was the natural end of a day's walking. I walked my most recent Camino Frances in 28 days because that meant the daily stages which felt right to me: not so long as to be too physically demanding or so short as to leave me twiddling my thumbs all afternoon in an albergue in a tiny village. Short days where there were interesting things to stop and enjoy. Long days when there was little distraction or simply for the sheer pleasure of putting one foot in front of the other. Some of us simply like to walk!
 

John H.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - 2017
CP Central - 2017
CP Coastal - 2018
CF - [hopefully again someday]
Yes. Just depends on how prepared you are, your motivations and your head space. I did it in 26 and loved it. And this left me with enough time to also walk to Finesterre and Muxia, Next time I might do it in 27 or 28 but certainly no more for me unless my body tells me otherwise. Ignore both the "it's not a race" comments and the "take time to smell the roses" comments. Just be guided by your personality, motivations, your body and experiences you encounter along the way. Everyone walks their own Camino. Have fun! I'm envious!
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
It is certainly doable for some in 28 days. You can read a number of examples above. It is just as clear that for others it requires longer. For yourself, if it is your first Camino, you won't know until you have walked a while and shown yourself that you can sustain the required daily distances in good health. If you don't have a fixed end date, as indicated above, all the better. You can walk at your best pace and find out how long it will take you.
 

Bhirc

Bhirc
Camino(s) past & future
Cruz de ferro to Santiago(2012)
SJPP to Ponferrada(2013)
SJPP to Santiago, (May/Jun2016)
Would be interested in anyones views about whether completing the whole of the French Way starting in St Jean in 28 days ( walking) is achievable. I would plan to build in rest days after each 7 days. Total duration of around 32 days. I have walked 200 miles previously in one stretch over 14 days which was a little less in terms of pace and average distance, but still sounds possible. Would be interested in others views of those who have done this in such time or others who have maybe found this too challenging?
28 days is no problem if you are reasonably fit. I did it in 2017 age 73. Started in SJPP, no rest days, but dropped to 2x20km days after Burgos due to heel blister. Cause was a kink in insole which I ignored until too late then had to go to chemist for treatment. One day walked 42km and no real struggle but later finish. Usually Started 7.30 and walk 2 hours then breakfast, 45 mins then another 2 hours and coffee then final 2 hours. Ave 28.3km/day. Saw lots of interesting sights but reduced church visits as started getting vertigo staring up at ceilings for too long.
Took bus from SDC to Finisterre as main plan just to do Camino Frances and thought may be pushing my luck walking on to Finisterre and maybe wrecking my foot or getting hit by a car and then remorse; ‘why did I not quit when I achieved that which I set out to achieve!
Btw, walked Ingles and SDC to Muxia and Finisterre Sept 2019 and nothing happened after all.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Would be interested in anyones views about whether completing the whole of the French Way starting in St Jean in 28 days ( walking) is achievable. I would plan to build in rest days after each 7 days. Total duration of around 32 days. I have walked 200 miles previously in one stretch over 14 days which was a little less in terms of pace and average distance, but still sounds possible. Would be interested in others views of those who have done this in such time or others who have maybe found this too challenging?
I met people who had done it 26 days and 23 days. They were fast walkers compared to me, plus they were much younger and fitter than me (I was 59 when I did it and not particularly fit, although I walk an average of 5km everyday). I walked SJPP to Finisterre in 50 days (incl. 6 rest days) from 1st Aug. to 20th Oct. 2018- I had originally thought that I would be able to do it in 32-35 days.
Whatever you 'plan to do' is most likely going to become unravelled at some point. Blisters, shin splints and general fatigue will slow you down when you least expect it, unless you are one of these people that doesn't suffer these things. (I wasn't, until I started walking in 30 degrees heat day after day, averaging 25km per day). Plus, I enjoyed the company of other pilgrims and often stopped to talk to local people about their lives in the small villages. I was never in a rush, yet there were days while walking with others that I would have to speed up to keep pace with my faster walking companions - later to discover this was probably a significant factor in me suffering shin splint injury around day 10, that lasted almost 11 days - very painful and it slowed me up to 10km days. I took a rest day in Burgos, but it wasn't enough, so I eventually had to stop for 3 days when I reached León, in order to allow time for proper recovery. After that, I was ok all the way to Finisterre, occasionally doing +35km days. Hope this is of some help in answering your query. Buen Camino, it will be magnificent and transformative, enjoy the love and live the life
 

supersullivan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2012. SJPP-Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia 2013. Ponferrada-Santiago June 2014. Leon-Santiago-Finisterre September 2014. April-May 2015: SJPP- S de C- Finisterre -Muxia- S de C.
Born in 1960, so in 2013 I was 53 and in 2015 I was 55, 2013 in 21 days and 2015 in 20 days, I personally loved the near solitude of walking in the late afternoons. As a couple of previous posters suggested, break your day into 3 shorter walks, in my case I'd try to have a light breakfast as near as possible to my albergue then walk for 2 to 3 hours before lunch then another 2 to 3 hours before an afternoon snack and then whatever distance remained to my destination. It is certainly a different camino to many others but I treasured my afternoons of quiet, contemplative solitude. I definitely should say that my preparation and fitness made this approach sensible for me as my main pastime in Ireland is hill walking and being able to carry a lighter backpack and be on firmer ground than in the Irish mountains made the distances very manageable. Whatever approach you decide, buen camino. Seamus
 

John H.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - 2017
CP Central - 2017
CP Coastal - 2018
CF - [hopefully again someday]
. . . It's the journey, not the destination that's important. . .
Blahhhhh . . . It bugs me when someone defines what is "important" to other people. (But, I have probably also been guilty of this at times.) The journey and destination are not always mutually exclusive thoughts. My deeply flawed personality is often driven by destinations/goals and I should not have to apologize for this. My reward is the destination. The bonus for me is what takes place along the journey to reach the destination.

I undertook the CF journey in 2017 to see if I could reach the destination and how long it would take; I also enjoyed experiencing what I encountered along the way - the journey. No apologies.

I expect that I am not the only person who celebrated reaching the destination in Santiago. It was only after I had returned home for a while that the journey really sunk in. Both are cherished gifts that remain important to me.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Definitely doable. I have met people who have done it in that amount of time.
As a couple of others have said, I would skip the rest days and walk short days instead as a rest. Or, just divide the kms more evenly over 32 days.

If you want an example of stages for a quick Camino check out this 26 day plan.

 

Thomas@Albany

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Part Oct. 5 2018 (StJ)-Oct. 19 (Boadillo); 2nd Part May 5 (Boadilla) to May 26, 2019.
Doable but you might feel deprived of the comradeship of the road. I feel in with one group and then another, with similar speeds, and adjusted my daily mileage to enjoy meeting the people if not at the same albergue, then in the same hamlet at least and socialize.
 

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