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How Many People Walked The Camino Without Any Training ?

SoulGirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April and May 2016
Hi guys!

I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?

Depending on the date of my trip (which I am still deciding - last minute or with several months of planning) I might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Buen Camino
 

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
You look pretty young which probably gives you a head start over us oldies anyway. If you are reasonably fit, keep your pack weight low (less than 10% of your bodyweight is sometimes suggested, but lower if you can), have really comfortable shoes, and are prepared to take as long as it takes, you should be fine. The trick is to regard the first two weeks on the Camino as training for the Camino - so start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter. Don't ignore pain! We've had members whose Camino was grounded when they ignored developing blisters and other injuries until it was too late.

If you are thinking of starting in SJPDP, then make sure you book into Orisson. Or, better still, start at Roncesvales so that you can break up the first few days more easily.
 

SoulGirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April and May 2016
You look pretty young which probably gives you a head start over us oldies anyway. If you are reasonably fit, keep your pack weight low (less than 10% of your bodyweight is sometimes suggested, but lower if you can), have really comfortable shoes, and are prepared to take as long as it takes, you should be fine. The trick is to regard the first two weeks on the Camino as training for the Camino - so start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter. Don't ignore pain! We've had members whose Camino was grounded when they ignored developing blisters and other injuries until it was too late.

If you are thinking of starting in SJPDP, then make sure you book into Orisson. Or, better still, start at Roncesvales so that you can break up the first few days more easily.

Thank you SO MUCH for the reply :))))))

I was actually watching some videos in this website http://robscamino.com/ and he is also a member here in the forum. And it was interesting you said that because I was like: oh man! it might be too much! but I like the idea of starting at Orisson. Though since I've been reading here and see many people taking MONTHS to prepare - not to mention the amount of information - it does feels overwhelming :p but thanks for saying that.... :) yeah I am 33 years old hehe
XOXO
 

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
Ah @SoulGirl - as some other bright spark on the forum once said - you've been training for this ever since you learnt to walk. So you already have about 32 years done! The forum is so large and the amount of information so overwhelming that it can be daunting. But it is really just going for a long walk.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Whatever your age and fitness do remember that this is NOT a walk in the park! Just because so many pilgrims have been successful does not guarantee that you will be. Anybody any moment can fall or pull or break anything. The most common injury is the result of trying to walk too far too quickly carrying too much! Easy does it. Be a snail; slow but, determined, until your body has found its way.

Take care and Buen camino!
 

norelle

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
Take it easy at the beginning, let people go ahead of you (you will see them again), listen to you body, take care of your feet and walk at your own pace.

I've said before on the forum that some of the fittest, most trained people I've met on the camino have had problems and injuries.

Be the snail - I love that advice!!

buen camino
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Hi @SoulGirl, I have never trained with a backpack before a Camino. I agree whole heartedly that this approach isn't advisable, but I'm lucky that it never caused me any problems.

I've a good backpack with firm lumbar support and I've learned (from my mistakes) that I can carry about 8kgs without too much bother. The 10% rule of thumb has its value, but it has limitations for smaller women. It's worth reading the various packing threads on this forum and trying really hard to keep your pack as light as possible. If you aren't used to carrying a backpack, make sure that you take lots of breaks throughout the day and do plenty of stretches.

I second all of the advice that you've been given about starting slowly and treating the first couple of weeks as your training. It's easy to do too much in the early stages, especially when you're fit and healthy. Walking day after day causes a cumulative strain on your body, which can lead to unpleasant injuries.

Buen Camino!
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Of course I 'meant' to do some serious training but working life got in the way. Having 5 weeks off meant a lot of work related prep and clearance and more than a few all nighters were pulled with the result that at the start I couldn't go fast to save my life. The consequence was that I walked into fitness en route over a few weeks-I was going to say 'gently walked' but it was a bit more rigorous than that! Yes I was a bit sore and creaky but then I was 50 and fat……still fat, no longer 50 alas:( but more to the point still a walking pilgrim. And, as it always has the last word anyway, I've learnt to listen to my body.
Have a wonderful journey.
N
 
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trafferty

I believe I'm ready for another adventure!
Camino(s) past & future
june (2016)
Whatever your age and fitness do remember that this is NOT a walk in the park! Just because so many pilgrims have been successful does not guarantee that you will be. Anybody any moment can fall or pull or break anything. The most common injury is the result of trying to walk too far too quickly carrying too much! Easy does it. Be a snail; slow but, determined, until your body has found its way.

Take care and Buen camino!

How long should a snail expect to take to get to santiago? I have 47 days.

Terry
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
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SoulGirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April and May 2016
Whatever your age and fitness do remember that this is NOT a walk in the park! Just because so many pilgrims have been successful does not guarantee that you will be. Anybody any moment can fall or pull or break anything. The most common injury is the result of trying to walk too far too quickly carrying too much! Easy does it. Be a snail; slow but, determined, until your body has found its way.

Take care and Buen camino!
thanks for that reminder...we sometimes forget that little things could happen. Thanks for the tip!!! :))))))))
 

SoulGirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April and May 2016
Hi @SoulGirl, I have never trained with a backpack before a Camino. I agree whole heartedly that this approach isn't advisable, but I'm lucky that it never caused me any problems.

I've a good backpack with firm lumbar support and I've learned (from my mistakes) that I can carry about 8kgs without too much bother. The 10% rule of thumb has its value, but it has limitations for smaller women. It's worth reading the various packing threads on this forum and trying really hard to keep your pack as light as possible. If you aren't used to carrying a backpack, make sure that you take lots of breaks throughout the day and do plenty of stretches.

I second all of the advice that you've been given about starting slowly and treating the first couple of weeks as your training. It's easy to do too much in the early stages, especially when you're fit and healthy. Walking day after day causes a cumulative strain on your body, which can lead to unpleasant injuries.

Buen Camino!
thanks for that reminder of the backpack.. and to take LOTS of breaks..thats important and some little details we forget :))
 

SoulGirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April and May 2016
Of course I 'meant' to do some serious training but working life got in the way. Having 5 weeks off meant a lot of work related prep and clearance and more than a few all nighters were pulled with there result that at the start I couldn't go fast to save my life. The consequence was that I walked into fitness en route over-I was going to say 'gently walked' but it was a bit more rigorous than that! Yes I was a bit sore and creaky but then I was 50 and fat……still fat, no longer 50 alas:( but more to the point still a walking pilgrim. And as it always has the last word anyway I've learnt to listen to my body.
Have a wonderful journey.
N
aww but im sure you are much fitter thanks to this experience = and wiser ;)
 

gypsywind

Member
You look pretty young which probably gives you a head start over us oldies anyway. If you are reasonably fit, keep your pack weight low (less than 10% of your bodyweight is sometimes suggested, but lower if you can), have really comfortable shoes, and are prepared to take as long as it takes, you should be fine. The trick is to regard the first two weeks on the Camino as training for the Camino - so start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter. Don't ignore pain! We've had members whose Camino was grounded when they ignored developing blisters and other injuries until it was too late.

If you are thinking of starting in SJPDP, then make sure you book into Orisson. Or, better still, start at Roncesvales so that you can break up the first few days more easily.
Kanga, because of my early start date (apr 1st) and not being sure to get a place in Orrison, I am going Valcarlos to Roncesvales. Do you believe that may be good slow training route for an old broad? I meant to train, but my 240 hr a month job stopped that plan !! But today is my last day on the job, and 30 days till I Fly over- Yippee !! Thank you again for all the good advice I get from you.
 

traveler

Walking is the answer
Camino(s) past & future
CF May-Jun '15
CF Dec '15
CF May-Jun ‘16
CF Dec ‘16
You don't need the exercise and endurance part of the walk but you need to get the shoes (and socks) right. A lot of people suffer and don't make it because of their feet/shoes. Take a 3 day weekend and walk 12-15 miles a day in the shoes you intend to wear. Don't worry about the pack. The results will be very helpful. Last time I had to test drive three pair of shoes before finding the right pair and had no problems on the Camino.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I was kept pretty active at work and did not do any training. It wasn't needed anyway because I just had to keep up with Peg. We had record snowfall in Boston in the winter so Peg didn't get much training done. We've done a fair bit of backpacking and didn't worry about our pack weight (which was substantially more than most pilgrims carry.) Even old, fat, short and slow Peg didn't have any problems with the stretch from Valcarlos up and over (lightening was forecast so we took the low road.)

The trip did take much longer than we expected because of food poisoning and tendonitis (the pavement out of Leon did it.) We usually walked 5-6 hours a day. Our trip to Santiago could be broken up into 3 sections. Here is a trip synopsis with approximate distances:

1) Days 1-23, 23 days, 370 kms, France to Villalcaza de Sirga (one day touristing) (370/22=16.8 kms per walking day)
2) Days 24-43, 20 days, 150 kms, Peg is sick and then injured and then slow, 9 days of no walking (150/11=13.6)
3) Days 44-58, 15 days, 230 kms, Closer to the same speed as at the start (all days spent walking) (230/15=15.3)

4) Trip average: 750 km in 48 walking days = 15.6 km/day (58 days total)

Translation into American:
1) 230 mi & 10.5 mi/day
2) 95 mi & 8.6 mi/day
3) 144 mi & 9.6 mi/day
4) 469 mi & 9.8 mi/day
 

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
@gypsywind Valcarlos is a very pretty, and genuinely authentic Camino path - much older than the Route Napoleon. So a good choice. Yes, stay the night there. The next day is still a very, very tough climb (IMO) so take it easy and don't lose heart - the rest of the Camino is not so hard. And you now have 30 days not walking so plenty of time to start the training process. It is really worthwhile, and putting on the pack and the clothes you intend to wear, right down to the underwear, is fun. Give it all an outing and a good trial. I feel a dork walking around my local suburbs in full kit, but my neighbours are now used to it.

I don't usually get serious until about a month before I leave, so you are on track.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
@gypsywind Valcarlos is a very pretty, and genuinely authentic Camino path - much older than the Route Napoleon. So a good choice. Yes, stay the night there. The next day is still a very, very tough climb (IMO) so take it easy and don't lose heart - the rest of the Camino is not so hard. And you now have 30 days not walking so plenty of time to start the training process. It is really worthwhile, and putting on the pack and the clothes you intend to wear, right down to the underwear, is fun. Give it all an outing and a good trial. I feel a dork walking around my local suburbs in full kit, but my neighbours are now used to it.

I don't usually get serious until about a month before I leave, so you are on track.
I live on the beach, so decided to take a practice walk with all my stuff. On a sunny 68 degree day (20C) felt pretty stupid on the flat walk with my macabi skirt, trekking poles, pack, while others breezing along in shorts and t-shirts. Then someone asked me if I was training for the Appalachian Trail. :)
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
It will be an easier pilgrimage if you do some training! It is not a good idea to find out things on the Camino (other than scenery and people), so test boots, pack, foot treatment, endurance, hydration, etc. before you go. You can use the first week or two for training on the Camino, but I think you will find that you overdo it. You will want to keep up, you will feel pretty strong the first day or two, and parts may even seem easy. Then you begin to wear down, hydration and blood chemistry drop, and you hit the wall. If you train in advance, all those things will be reduced. Tell yourself it is OK to cover only 10-15 km per day in the beginning, then stick with it. For every interesting person that pulls ahead of you, another interesting person will overtake you. You may catch up to all of them if they pull up lame and have to rest! :)
 

Dutchwalk53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015 with son #1, CF 2016 alone, CF 2017 with son #2 and husband , CF Sept 2018 with daughter
You don't need the exercise and endurance part of the walk but you need to get the shoes (and socks) right. A lot of people suffer and don't make it because of their feet/shoes. Take a 3 day weekend and walk 12-15 miles a day in the shoes you intend to wear. Don't worry about the pack. The results will be very helpful. Last time I test drove three pair of shoes before finding the right pair and had no problems on the Camino.
I agree 200%. with the shoe/sock comment...I simply cannot imagine starting the Camino with shoes that you didn't break in properly. I walk in mine at least 75 miles before the Camino. I think having great fitting shoes (and good socks) is indeed THE most important thing.
 
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Lynda t

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago May 2010
Lisbon to Santiago May 2012
I was kept pretty active at work and did not do any training. It wasn't needed anyway because I just had to keep up with Peg. We had record snowfall in Boston in the winter so Peg didn't get much training done. We've done a fair bit of backpacking and didn't worry about our pack weight (which was substantially more than most pilgrims carry.) Even old, fat, short and slow Peg didn't have any problems with the stretch from Valcarlos up and over (lightening was forecast so we took the low road.)

The trip did take much longer than we expected because of food poisoning and tendonitis (the pavement out of Leon did it.) We usually walked 5-6 hours a day. Our trip to Santiago could be broken up into 3 sections. Here is a trip synopsis with approximate distances:

1) Days 1-23, 23 days, 370 kms, France to Villalcaza de Sirga (one day touristing) (370/22=16.8 kms per walking day)
2) Days 24-43, 20 days, 150 kms, Peg is sick and then injured and then slow, 9 days of no walking (150/11=13.6)
3) Days 44-58, 15 days, 230 kms, Closer to the same speed as at the start (all days spent walking) (230/15=15.3)

4) Trip average: 750 km in 48 walking days = 15.6 km/day (58 days total)

Translation into American:
1) 230 mi & 10.5 mi/day
2) 95 mi & 8.6 mi/day
3) 144 mi & 9.6 mi/day
4) 469 mi & 9.8 mi/day
That would be my distances these day as older age catches up
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
Because I'm one of the oldies I was very surprised to see many 'younger' folks (mostly males) having huge problems with infected blisters and blown knees. In many cases, it was a matter of too fast, too soon.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I've posted it on here before, but I did all three of my Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago while in my 50's with no special training beforehand other than the usual running, stretching and weight training I do anyway. Other than sucky, really rainy days and a couple of days being hungover from too much wine the night before, I always covered 20-30K a day. Sure, I had sore feet and knees just like everyone else, and a few days the old knees were really killing me, but overall I found it to be no problem. I certainly was not a fast walker and was quite often passed up by fellow pilgrims, but it seemed I always arrived at the albergues within about an hour or so after they did. Kind of like having a car zip past you on the road, yet a couple of minutes later you are both stopped at the same red signal. Honestly I can't think of any training that really duplicates walking distances like that, up and down hills with a pack. Stretching and core exercises like push-ups are good.
Mind you, I'm not saying just go all out and throw caution to the wind. You don't want to ruin or otherwise end your Camino early due to some type of injury such as a stress fracture or really, really bad blisters and other foot problems.
You definitely have an advantage being in your 30's. The body recovers quicker after each walking day at that age. Just walk smart, wear the right shoes and travel as light as you can.
cheers and ultreia
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Because I'm one of the oldies I was very surprised to see many 'younger' folks (mostly males) having huge problems with infected blisters and blown knees. In many cases, it was a matter of too fast, too soon.

I am a short, fat, 50+ and basically idle Scotsman. I do not train before a camino but I have some prior experience. A few days ago on the Camino Portugues I met a man half my age who dropped out after two days. He had never walked any long distance before. He had walked nearly 80km over two days carrying 14kg. Not surprising then that he had massive blisters and dangerously swollen feet and ankles. I do not think that you need systematic training before beginning but you do need to have realistic expectations. Those can only be gained through trying out both body and equipment well before beginning a major walk.
 

gagseymt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2016
Hi guys!

I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?

Depending on the date of my trip (which I am still deciding - last minute or with several months of planning) I might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Buen Camino
Please, Please do some training, you will have paid quite a lot of money to get to the start to maybe fail early on.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
I am a short, fat, 50+ and basically idle Scotsman. I do not train before a camino but I have some prior experience. A few days ago on the Camino Portugues I met a man half my age who dropped out after two days. He had never walked any long distance before. He had walked nearly 80km over two days carrying 14kg. Not surprising then that he had massive blisters and dangerously swollen feet and ankles. I do not think that you need systematic training before beginning but you do need to have realistic expectations. Those can only be gained through trying out both body and equipment well before beginning a major walk.
Most of the men I saw with real problems were in their 20s & 3os.
Off topic for a moment; Brady is 'pus' at the end of a first name a Scottish thing? My Scottish Father (Dundee) always called me 'Maggiepus'. I would have asked him, but I was age 4 when I last saw him:(
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Can't say the 'pus' part is very Scottish. Chose the name because of the Flanders and Swann song 'The Sloth'. If you do not know it try finding it on Youtube. Very funny clever lyrics.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Hi guys!

I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?

Depending on the date of my trip (which I am still deciding - last minute or with several months of planning) I might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Buen Camino
Our first Camino was 11 years years ago when both of us were 55. No training or preparation.HOWEVER, I suffered dreadfully from blisters,mainly because my boots were too tight from over dressing each blister which in turn caused problems on other parts of my feet. By the time we reached Santiago I was in a dreadful state. We walked it in 26 days which was a bit stupid of us but being young and foolish, the adrenaline and excitement kept us going. it was a miracle we never got tendonitis. Since then, on the other caminos-- no major blisters as I learned that keeping plenty of room in the boots with thin socks worked for me. Also changing the socks at EACH stop is essential as my feet sweat. (Now we stop a lot!) Walking in sweaty feet, I think is a major cause of blisters.(I dry the wet socks then on the back of the rucksack) if I find a blister developing,I just cover it with tape and leave it. As we walk mostly in the summer months, it can be very hot so we start off early at about 6am(to see the sun rise too) to beat the heat. Then stop at our destination around 1pm to2pm and then just rest and talk to friends or read. Over the years ,met many young fit people with tendonitis---walking too far and too quickly. Also using walking poles a great advantage as the CF is quiet undulating in places. As many here have said, it's defenitely not a walk in the park but you can do it I am sure and some walking and training can't be a bad thing anyway.best wishes Annette.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
the whole training I see some people doing
The extensive training and preparation may seem totally focused on the walk to Santiago, but in the back of my mind is the fact that the hours of walking improve my life anyway and have become a hobby that I hope will take me well into old age. It's not just about a particular 800-km walk.

Certainly I'd recommend doing as much walking as you can, and I'd consider it foolish to go without verifying your footwear and pack. However, many or even most of the people you'll meet have done very little training. @Bradypus had some good advice about having realistic expectations of your body.
 

kerrychick

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 camino francis 2006 porto way 2010 camino francis 2014 camino francis.starting in Logrono in sep 2016.
I always do my housework wearing my pack for a few weeks before a camino.
I look very silly but nobody but my husband sees me
and i find it really helps and also gives my husband a laugh.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
All of us should just keep moving. Each time I garden on our hillside, carry a load of groceries, stoop to make a bed, etc. I like to think that such effort will make it easier next time to climb up the Ibaneta pass or trudge through the O Cebreiro snow and, of course, I sincerely hope that there may be a next time!

At any age what matters most is TO CONTINUE to move.

Margaret Meredith
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
There is some really great advice on this thread. I will only add my personal experience from my first stab at the Camino in 2011 between SJPdP and Logrono.
I had an ill fitting backpack, it might well have been a child's school bag. I only practiced a few times in some very unforgiving hard leather boots. I knew nothing about preparing my feet with Vaseline or wearing silk liner socks. I didn't even have a guidebook.
I had some awful blisters by the time I reached Villatuerta. If it weren't for the time Miguel at Casa Magica spent patching up my feet I probably would have quit.
I am ready to start Camino number 6 and my training includes walking for at least an hour a day to break my new boots so my feet are in synch with them. I do not carry a backpack during my training. I do spinning classes and water aerobics to deal with cardio and weight control. I will 70 years old when I start this year.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

As @Kanga has observed, the average fitness level of a 33 year old will count for much of what us older ones need to do to approach your fitness level. And, has been said above, the first week or so on camino is part of your training.

I also echo the advise from many posts above to look at the many packing lists that are available and go for (ultra) lightweight versions of stuff to go in your pack. Trial your walking shoes, socks and anything else you will wear.

@Kanga repeats the suggestion of 10% of body weight for what goes on your back. Others translate that to an all up pack weight of 7 kg (15 lbs) including water, food, clothes, anything else.

If you have a limited time I suggest a focus of walking up (and down) hills. Try working up to achieving, say, 700 metres of elevation before lunch. With all the gear you will take on your back.

As others say: listen to your body on camino and do as it tells you.

Ultreia (keep striving)
Kia kaha (be strong / brave)
Buen camino (travel well)
 

jirit

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
When my wife and I first walk the Camino frances route we trained for a couple of months, initially walking 5-10 kilometres without backs and progressing to longer distances wearing and carying the packs and gear we would take.

We did the same prior to walking the via Francigena in Italy which was our second pilgrimage.

However since then we have rarely trained or prepared. Much of this had to due with knowing yourself and your abilities, knowing what gear to take and carry, how far to walk, etc. For example when I walked the Camino frances the second time by myself I left on a weeks notice taking and wearing the same gear I had before. Yes I got blisters for the first time, but this was simply due to walking faster and futher than I had in the past. But I survived.

When my wife walked the Camino Frances by herself, bad ankles and all, she did not prepare or train in advance ( she too left on a few weeks notice ). She did not get blisters but she did get bed bugs twice ( and this is something you can not train for ) and she had ankle and foot problems. But she survived too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
tSome very good advice here, as always.

There are no right and wrong ways to walk a Camino, and we all have different experiences. But you will see some common advice that everyone is giving. That's probably the advice worth listening to ;)

Start slow and short is the key IMHO.

Whatever fitness training you can do....will help. Anything to strengthen your back and legs. Anything is better than nothing :) But don't panic if you can't do as much training as you would like.
Keep your pack weight as light as possible. I would aim for 8kg or less... Be ruthless in deciding what to pack and what to leave behind. If you leave something behind that you find you then need, you can buy it there on the Camino.

The most important three things about your gear, in my mind, are:
  1. Your footwear
  2. Your footwear
  3. Your footwear
If your boots/shoes are comfortable (and your sock combination) you can put up with a lot of discomfort. If not, blisters will make your Camino miserable.

If you don't have the time for training walks, wear your Camino boots/shoes to work! You need to spend time in them to know that they are comfortable and for your feet to get used to them.

Use trekking poles. In my view they are not an optional item. You will quickly get used to how to use them. They feel awkward at first. But within a couple of hours you will understand how best to use them. Used well, they just 'feel right' and really help take the weight off your legs and back.

Start slow and short. Do not be tempted to walk too far or too fast in the first few days. As your body gets used to the physical effort, you can gradually increase distances. Better IMHO to walk an extra hour each day at a comfortable pace, than try to walk faster. Remember, it's a long way. It's not a race ;)

The people who manage it with less pain and stress, are the ones who use their 'head' when walking :) That means taking care of your body and making sensible decisions about speed and distance each day.

In those first few days particularly. Don't. don't, don't. .... Try to keep up with 'new friends' who are walking faster than you or who are walking longer distances. You must walk at your own speed, otherwise you risk injury. Pushing yourself, even a little bit, above your normal speed and distance can be the cause of foot and leg injury.

You will probably catch up with them anyway, when they have to take a day off to allow blisters and muscle strains to heal ;)

Note: I'm glad you enjoyed my Videos. But do remember, your results may vary, as they say in the small print. I was very lucky with weather, no serious injuries..... We are all different and have different expectations and experiences.
And my Blog is based on the experiences of a 'One Shot Pilgrim'. i.e. I have only walked one Camino so far. There are members here with decades of Camino experience.....and lots of wise advice.
:)
I enjoyed making the Videos. It was like having someone walk with me that I could share the experience with :) Without the 'pain' of actually having them there :eek:
 
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zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
As all has been said so well, start slow, just remember the first couple days are the toughest :) by then you are a pro :)

Buem Camino
Zzotte
 

Lifesastitch

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Sept/Oct (2015)
Portugues Coastal Route - Sept/Oct (2016)
Muxia - Oct (2016)
Age 61, had an ankle fracture three and a half months prior to starting. Training went down the tubes in a half leg boot. I was able to get back up to seven miles prior to leaving. Also, my right ankle has a permanent fracture so after heated discussion (http://lifesastitch.typepad.com/_/2015/09/intervention-divine-or-otherwise.html ), we made the decision to start from Roncesvalles and after a day of carrying the full pack elected to transport our heaviest items and carry half the weight. LOL five pounds of our weight were meds. We started with half days and worked our way up. We wore toe sock liners and I had only one blister while my husband had none. Best advice: stop immediately and tend to anything that's sore or rubbing in your shoe or it will turn into a blister. Buen Camino.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
All of us should just keep moving. Each time I garden on our hillside, carry a load of groceries, stoop to make a bed, etc. I like to think that such effort will make it easier next time to climb up the Ibaneta pass or trudge through the O Cebreiro snow and, of course, I sincerely hope that there may be a next time!

At any age what matters most is TO CONTINUE to move.

Margaret Meredith
My forum name suits me to a T, even though it was bestowed on me when I won a Country Swing dance contest years ago....
 

Lee Woodhouse

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 6th 2016 I get to saint Jean, I plan on staying here 2 nights as I don't get there till late on the 6th so will set off on September 8th So if anyone is in Saint Jean at this time and wants a little wine... Give me a shout!!! ;)
Hi guys!

I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?

Depending on the date of my trip (which I am still deciding - last minute or with several months of planning) I might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Buen Camino
Well I start my Camino at saint Jean on 8th September and between now and them I will be working my way up to around 20 km, I don't plan on doing that on the Camino as I want to take more in and enjoy every moment so really I'll be the slowest one doing it lol x
 

Maxie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 15,16
Ingles 15
Norte 16, 17
Finesterra /Muxia 16, 17
Primativo 16
VDLP 16
Portuguese 17
Some good advice on this thread. Main thing is, don't go to fast early on, shorten your stride going up hill, learn how to use walking poles . A lot of peeps tend to speed up with poles and push off with the ball of the foot to hard, this is a cause of tendonitis/shin splints. Shoes need to be worn in prior to the start and your backpack should feel as if its not there.
 

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
Well I started last year @ 31 with only a couple weeks of training. I carried quite a lot of gear because I was walking for 6 months. Biggest things are having shoes you know well and keeping weight down as much as possible. Many, many people get wiped out by injuries, or significantly delayed. Near everyone gets foot problems of some kind. I myself had about 11 blisters in total (in different locals of my feet) and a really bad achilles for a few days. I saw a 25 year old guy blow out his knee coming down the hill after Pamplona due to carrying too much on his back. I know at least 2 doctors and 2 nurses were knocked off the Camino due to foot injuries. So to keep it brief: as long as you can keep your feet okay you should be good. :D
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Start slow and short is the key IMHO.

Never a truer word said Robo.
People forget the 25km to RON is actually 31 km when allowing for increase in ascent and altitude.

If you are not sure , leave bag in albergue , walk to Orrison , taxi back to STJPP and the next day resume from Orrison , you won't be alone in doing this.
The damage is done on the first 3 days , the rocky path into Zubiri ....beware.
 

philmaybe

New Member
So much good advice as always.

After sitting behind a desk all my life and less than confident about my ability to walk such a distance, I particularly like advice such as:

“start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter” and “listen to your body”.

My only real concern is that at some point in the first week or so my body will tell me in no uncertain terms that I’ve done enough for today and I’ll look at my guidebook and find that the next albergue is, say, fifteen kilometres further along the way.

So I guess my question is – do I need to plan my accommodation in advance based on doing fewer kilometres in those first days or are there more albergues along the way than guidebooks suggest?

I feel as though this question is rather clumsily constructed so I hope you get my drift.
 

Lee Woodhouse

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 6th 2016 I get to saint Jean, I plan on staying here 2 nights as I don't get there till late on the 6th so will set off on September 8th So if anyone is in Saint Jean at this time and wants a little wine... Give me a shout!!! ;)
So much good advice as always.

After sitting behind a desk all my life and less than confident about my ability to walk such a distance, I particularly like advice such as:

“start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter” and “listen to your body”.

My only real concern is that at some point in the first week or so my body will tell me in no uncertain terms that I’ve done enough for today and I’ll look at my guidebook and find that the next albergue is, say, fifteen kilometres further along the way.

So I guess my question is – do I need to plan my accommodation in advance based on doing fewer kilometres in those first days or are there more albergues along the way than guidebooks suggest?

I feel as though this question is rather clumsily constructed so I hope you get my drift.
That's a good point, maybe there is an app for phones that is updated with albergues? Would be nice to know.

Lee
 

Carel5

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Mozarabe: Almeria - Merida
2018 Francigena: GSB - Massa
(2019) Francigena: Massa - Roma
The only training I do before a long distance walk is doing a few walks of 20-25 kilometers in the weeks before the trip. If you are not used to 20 km, do first a few walks between 12-16 kilometers. The second sound advice is: don't make the first stages too long. It takes a few days to get used to your backpack. I think the 30 or more kilometer stages are for later, as you are used to longer walks.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
So much good advice as always.

After sitting behind a desk all my life and less than confident about my ability to walk such a distance, I particularly like advice such as:

“start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter” and “listen to your body”.

My only real concern is that at some point in the first week or so my body will tell me in no uncertain terms that I’ve done enough for today and I’ll look at my guidebook and find that the next albergue is, say, fifteen kilometres further along the way.

So I guess my question is – do I need to plan my accommodation in advance based on doing fewer kilometres in those first days or are there more albergues along the way than guidebooks suggest?

I feel as though this question is rather clumsily constructed so I hope you get my drift.
For the most part just look at your guide, as on average with few exceptions you will find a place to stay every 5-6 k not all places such as hotels or hostals are listed you just see them as you go. Walking in April May never made any reservations no need. If you get into some worry just find a pharmacia all of them spoke English. Just have google translate on a phone & you can take a picture of signs & it will translate the words.
If you don't train just know you will stay in Orrison yes book that, after that you should be fine. In any case you will find this easier if you don't worry, just go with your instincts & know that you can figure out everything
Buen Camino
Keith
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
So much good advice as always.

After sitting behind a desk all my life and less than confident about my ability to walk such a distance, I particularly like advice such as:

“start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter” and “listen to your body”.

My only real concern is that at some point in the first week or so my body will tell me in no uncertain terms that I’ve done enough for today and I’ll look at my guidebook and find that the next albergue is, say, fifteen kilometres further along the way.

So I guess my question is – do I need to plan my accommodation in advance based on doing fewer kilometres in those first days or are there more albergues along the way than guidebooks suggest?

I feel as though this question is rather clumsily constructed so I hope you get my drift.

@philmaybe,
I did what you are suggesting above for my pilgrimage last fall. I arrived in Spain in Madrid and took the Alsa bus to Pamplona, where I was picked up by Istvan of Corazon Puro and driven to his pension to spend my first night, then to St Jean Pied de Port the next morning to begin my camino. I had booked (and paid for) a room at Orisson, about 8 km. steep uphill. I stayed there for one night then walked on to Roncesvalles the next day, finding the downhill slope to Roncesvalles rather hard on my joints. The next day, I only went as far as Corazon Puro again (right on the pilgrimage route 11 km. from Roncesvalles) where I stayed for a second night, having booked it in advance. It was good to have a private bedroom plus supper and breakfast for a very modest price (18 euros) and even better to have a hot bath and a quiet night after my first couple of strenuous days. If you book a second night at Corazon Puro it is possible to leave a bag with anything that you don't need for the walk over the Pyrenees. I suppose that I parked several kilos there, to be picked up on my return. This planning certainly made the beginning of my pilgrimage less stressful, both physically and in terms of planning self-care. Many others on this forum will advise you of the frequency of accommodation on the camino, and that is generally true. But it can be reassuring to plan ahead for the beginning of your camino, particularly if you wish to stay somewhere which is not classified as an albergue. You can find much information about both Orisson and Corazon Puro by searching the forum. Corazon Puro E-mail:corazonpuro@corazonpuro.es ; Orisson: refuge.orisson@wanadoo.fr.
 
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D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
do I need to plan my accommodation in advance based on doing fewer kilometres in those first days or are there more albergues along the way than guidebooks suggest?
The albergues are described accurately, but there are many other accommodations along the way that allow you to change your mind. I suggest making reservations only one day in advance. If you change your mind, be sure to cancel the reservation so the bed is available to someone else (municipal and most parochial albergues do not take reservations). Most pilgrims find that they can "wing it" without making reservations. You get up, walk, and quit when you want. If you stop before about 2 p.m., you will always find a bed.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
The difficulty with answering this question, in the many forms that it gets asked, is that there are sufficient forum members who have succeeded with little extra preparation, but there are relatively few who admit when they have failed. It is probably more telling to know the rate of failure without training and work out whether one is prepared to take a risk that high. However, it appears to me that forum members are more likely to have made it than failed, so we are unlikely to know in any detail what that risk is. I think this results in a perception that it is relatively more easy to do the camino without training than it actually might be.

That said, there is plenty of other good advice here. If you are looking for a training program that can be readily adapted to suit those of us still working, try one of the programs here. They have the advantages of not being particularly long programs, of building up from a low base and of not requiring long walks on more than one day a week. I find it readily adaptable to the demands of working, etc.
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
You get up, walk, and quit when you If you stop before about 2 p.m., you will always find a bed.

Precisely why I walk at this time of year and on the less popular Caminos. Very sad that people feel compelled to stop after only half a day's walking or risk finding themselves homeless for the night.
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
Hi guys!

I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?

Depending on the date of my trip (which I am still deciding - last minute or with several months of planning) I might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Buen Camino

My own experience would be that no formal training is necessary. It might be helpful, but it's not essential.

I walked the Camino for the first time in 2012, and was a little anxious about the same thing. I read about people going for long weekend hill-walks with full rucksacks, and wondered if not doing so would come back to bite me, but it didn't.

I walk a lot in my day-to-day life (y'know, 45 minutes to work and the same home, that kind of thing), and I did make a point of running quite a bit in the gym in the lead-up, with a view towards improving my cardiovascular fitness, but I'm not sure how much of a difference that made. It's good to be fit, of course, but I don't necessarily know if running fitness = Camino fitness. The Camino is kind of like a war of attrition. It's a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and doing so over and over... and over and over. That might be simplifying things a it, but you know what I mean.

I made a point of wearing good hiking boots (not everyone does), and made sure they were well broken in before I started walking. Once out there, for the first week or so I made a point of not going too crazy on my distances. A lot of people can be over-enthusiastic early on, push themselves too hard, and pick up injuries as a result. So, after splitting the St Jean to Roncesvalles stretch by staying over at Orisson, after that I walked 20 kms for the next couple of days, maybe gradually edged up from there, but didn't hit a 30 km day until about 10 days in. By that point, my body had adjusted to it, and from there I was pretty much able to go 35-40 km without any trouble if I so chose.

Regards,

Mark
 

Jan_89

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés: July/August 2014

Camino Francés: May/June 2017
Hi guys!

I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?

Depending on the date of my trip (which I am still deciding - last minute or with several months of planning) I might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Buen Camino
Hello there!

Well, I planned my Camino very well and I wanted to train, but I didn't.. :) I was worried that my legs can not handle it, but it was ok! Sure, you will be tired, you will have a pain, but in two weeks you will walk as a pro and you will not care if it is 20 or 40 kms to albergue! :) Every problem will be forgotten, because of the feelings and beauty of Camino!
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
in two weeks you will walk as a pro and you will not care if it is 20 or 40 kms to albergue
If you are 26, maybe! At age 70 the recovery is much slower. ;)

Very sad that people feel compelled to stop after only half a day's walking
I stop because about six hours is all I can walk. For me it is a full day's walking. There are a lot of differences between pilgrims. :)
 

Jan_89

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés: July/August 2014

Camino Francés: May/June 2017
If you are 26, maybe! At age 70 the recovery is much slower. ;)
Yeah, sure! And big respect to older people! But SoulGirl is also young, so I wanted to say my view.. :)
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I stop because about six hours is all I can walk. For me it is a full day's walking. There are a lot of differences between pilgrims. :)


I agree that we all walk differently and rightly so. I just find it sad that those who would choose to walk later into the day feel that they cannot because they will not be able to find a bed. Way back in the last century when I first walked the Camino Frances I usually stopped for lunch and a long doze in the shade. Then walked two or three more hours before nightfall. With today's pressure on bed spaces many people do not feel they have that option. A pity to have lost some freedom of choice.
 
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SaraB

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (April 2016)
Camino Ingles (April 2017)
I agree that we all walk differently and rightly so. I just find it sad that those who would chose to walk later into the day feel that they cannot because they will not be able to find a bed. Way back in the last century when I first walked the Camino Frances I usually stopped for lunch and a long doze in the shade. Then walked two or three more hours before nightfall. With today's pressure on bed spaces many people do not feel they have that option. A pity to have lost some freedom of choice.
Is that the case for all routes? Or just for the CF in the summer months?
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Hello there!

Well, I planned my Camino very well and I wanted to train, but I didn't.. :) I was worried that my legs can not handle it, but it was ok! Sure, you will be tired, you will have a pain, but in two weeks you will walk as a pro and you will not care if it is 20 or 40 kms to albergue! :) Every problem will be forgotten, because of the feelings and beauty of Camino!

Never have and never will walk 40km a day,
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I agree that we all walk differently and rightly so. I just find it sad that those who would choose to walk later into the day feel that they cannot because they will not be able to find a bed. Way back in the last century when I first walked the Camino Frances I usually stopped for lunch and a long doze in the shade. Then walked two or three more hours before nightfall. With today's pressure on bed spaces many people do not feel they have that option. A pity to have lost some freedom of choice.


A few of us walked from Castro after dark , the beauty of the meseta under a full moon.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I agree that we all walk differently and rightly so. I just find it sad that those who would choose to walk later into the day feel that they cannot because they will not be able to find a bed. Way back in the last century when I first walked the Camino Frances I usually stopped for lunch and a long doze in the shade. Then walked two or three more hours before nightfall. With today's pressure on bed spaces many people do not feel they have that option. A pity to have lost some freedom of choice.
You do have a good point there and at times it was a bit frustrating to have to conform to that mentality while walking the CF. I would constantly remind myself that patience is indeed a virtue, and also that money talks, ha ha, the few times I had to shell out some extra euro and get a private room because all the albergues were full when I got to towns past 3:00 pm.
 

Jan_89

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés: July/August 2014

Camino Francés: May/June 2017
Never have and never will walk 40km a day,
Yeah, I didn't walk more than 40 kms per day, just once! But I met a lot of pilgrims who walked this number.. I mostly walked around 25 kms.
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?
Well, I did and joined the ones who got into trouble. Since then, I've learned a couple of lessons and hope to walk another Camino soon.:cool:
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Precisely why I walk at this time of year and on the less popular Caminos. Very sad that people feel compelled to stop after only half a day's walking or risk finding themselves homeless for the night.

Exactly on the note :)

zzotte
 

AZgirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : mozarabe 2021
I think that while it may not be strictly necessary any training you can do will be beneficial. I only trained a little bit for my first camino. While I did finish and was fine, the first couple of days were a bit rough. For my second, I did quite a bit more training and it was enjoyable from the get go. Also I use the training on weekends to explore trails and roads near my hometime, and find it enjoyable, and helps keep some of that camino spirit in my life.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
my two cents worth are coming from someone who HASN'T yet done their Camino (Sept 2016)
I HAVE been training as I strongly believe that anything I can do now will lead to more fun, and less pain, on the Camino

so I set 4 goals
increase mileage
increase elevation gain
increase pack weight
and increase pavement miles

OMG you guys were right : pavement is NOT easier than trails
My dog, Oden, and I have just started to crank up, so we have been doing 7-8-10 mile hikes with moderate gain 3 days in a row most weeks ( yes the house and car are a mess)

I had done a few 5 miles on pavement with the pack- no biggie- well, today we did 12.5 miles on a paved pedestrian walkway with half pack weight - and things hurt that NEVER got touched by the hikes:
certain hip muscles, toes , balls of the feet , sides of the knees
SUCH a difference from the trails
so I see what you mean and will ease it back up
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
increase pavement miles
I really don't know, but I'd question whether a lot of training on pavement is particularly helpful. Some such training is probably good, but be careful not to injure yourself before you leave home.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I had to shell out some extra euro and get a private room because all the albergues were full when I got to towns past 3:00 pm.

And Marko you never once complained,
Lovely clean sheets , private bathroom , a quiet nap before a LATE dinner with the locals , pack your bag before sleeping , clothes on the chair ready for the morning walk @ a time of your liking,
And nobody snoring ,
Bliss my friend and may you arrive late with a smile knowing the above is available ,
Keep well,
D
 
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MarsN

New Member
SoulGirl, I have been following this forum for a couple of years, gathering information for that day that I work the Camino. (I'm hopeful that it will be in April/May. I just need to sort a few things out first.) Today, I saw a physiotherapist who, after I had told him what I was going to do, has given me a series of exercises to do to help strengthen the muscles in my quads and calves. I have achilles tendonitis and he advised that strength training would be better preparation than walking long distances. (Of course, he also suggested that I do this, too but the strength training would be the best.) I'm a generation older than you and realise that my recovery rate will be much longer. The advice on this forum has been invaluable to me. Most of the advice has centred around making sure your shoes/boots are comfortable, weight of backpack, and taking one's time. I'm certainly going to be heading this advice. Buen Camino!
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
your shoes/boots are comfortable, weight of backpack, and taking one's time

You will be ok Mars,
Shoes are the most important , clothes take the least .....there are shops everywhere for any emergency [ we are talking t/shirts etc] and last but NOT least , take your time.
It is so important that last sentence.
You will not do more than 3 km / hour if you enjoy coffee stops , talking to strangers [you will] and photo-taking. Factor that distance/time in and the rest will take care of itself.
Pick a nice place and stop for the day and enjoy lunch and do not worry about the tribes/herds rushing ahead.
Have a great camino
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
I met a young Italian in Arzua, a marathon runner. He told me that he ran at least one marathon each week. He also told me, with a grin on his face, that after walking 100 km on the camino his feet were destroyed!

Just to put some balance on these comments - I ran one marathon over 30 years ago but since then have walked instead - I didn't train for my caminos since I walk for at least an hour a day - though I did some 18 mile flat walks carrying liquid alone just to test out my footwear and socks

On the CF a decade ago I stayed with the Brierley stages for the first few days but then started walking in the afternoons as well so that I averaged 40km per day overall; on the Norte now I typically walk 45km per day - I wear trail runners, pack ultralight (except for lots of liquid) and my feet are fine
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Just to put some balance on these comments - I ran one marathon over 30 years ago but since then have walked instead - I didn't train for my caminos since I walk for at least an hour a day - though I did some 18 mile flat walks carrying liquid alone just to test out my footwear and socks

On the CF a decade ago I stayed with the Brierley stages for the first few days but then started walking in the afternoons as well so that I averaged 40km per day overall; on the Norte now I typically walk 45km per day - I wear trail runners, pack ultralight (except for lots of liquid) and my feet are fine
It's good to see another non-trainer! I'm too busy right now preparing for a couple of local 'non-competitive' walking or run/walk events up to when I leave. I have been lucky enough on all my pilgrimage walks to have a range of local events with a walk option available to use them as part of my preparation, and there are pretty active walking groups that mean that getting a longer walk in on weekends is not too difficult. The only thing that I add to that is to ensure that I get a couple of walks in with a substantial elevation gain towards the end of my preparation.
 

traveler

Walking is the answer
Camino(s) past & future
CF May-Jun '15
CF Dec '15
CF May-Jun ‘16
CF Dec ‘16
I'm going to come back to shoes (and socks) and distance. I have walked many miles and I have been repeatedly surprised (I'm a slow learner) to find that a lot of problems with shoes (and socks) don't show up until I've walk 15-20 kilometers a day for several days. Shoes that feel comfortable and broken in for short distances, daily tasks, or just one long walk often fail the long walk everyday test.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
today we did 12.5 miles on a paved pedestrian walkway with half pack weight - and things hurt that NEVER got touched by the hikes
Now repeat that for 33 days! It isn't easy, which is why some training is useful even if not 100% essential. :)
 

DeadFred

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean-Los Arcos ,Sept, Oct 14'
Los Arcos - Logrono-May16'
Next Logrono to ? - Sept 2019
I'll be 70 in a couple days. 2013 to Sept 2014 I trained for my first Camino . Even though I was aware that NOT over doing it ( taking my time) was necessary I strayed and paid the price . By Los Arcos I had to stop . If I had started off slower and lighter I believe I would have been good to go the distance. St Jean to Orisson was part of the reason for my L5 disc/spur issue . I'm healed now ( knock on wood) and returning to Los Arcos in May .

On day one go no further than Orisson , Get there by 6 or you might lose your reservation . I got there a 5:30 pm , I almost lost it :( . That first day is indescribably beautiful and indescribably difficult . Be the tortoise not the hare.

What I am trying to say as many have said here . Know your ability and you will be good . Stray outside your abilities and you won't be ok. What's that saying " Pilgrim know thyself " :) .. Buen Camino
 
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rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
my two cents worth are coming from someone who HASN'T yet done their Camino (Sept 2016)
I HAVE been training as I strongly believe that anything I can do now will lead to more fun, and less pain, on the Camino

so I set 4 goals
increase mileage
increase elevation gain
increase pack weight
and increase pavement miles

OMG you guys were right : pavement is NOT easier than trails
My dog, Oden, and I have just started to crank up, so we have been doing 7-8-10 mile hikes with moderate gain 3 days in a row most weeks ( yes the house and car are a mess)

I had done a few 5 miles on pavement with the pack- no biggie- well, today we did 12.5 miles on a paved pedestrian walkway with half pack weight - and things hurt that NEVER got touched by the hikes:
certain hip muscles, toes , balls of the feet , sides of the knees
SUCH a difference from the trails
so I see what you mean and will ease it back up

Good you are finding this now! :D

You will benefit a lot on the Camino from it and enjoy all the experiences that much more.
 

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)
Hi guys!

I just wanted to know if there is anyone who decided to walk the camino without any preparation? And when I say preparation I mean the training (walking with the backpack for a few miles)?

Depending on the date of my trip (which I am still deciding - last minute or with several months of planning) I might have no time to do the whole training I see some people doing and I am considering just doing it anyway.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Buen Camino


SoulGirl:

I did no training for my first Camino. I also started in March so Orisson was not an option. The first week was my training. I recommend you stop in Orisson and all should be well. Just take your time and ease your body into Camino shape.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I gotta respectively disagree on the advice that one should positively, absolutely, 100% stop and spend the night at the albergue in Orisson. I suppose that is indeed a prudent thing to do if one is not in the most optimum physical condition to walk the Camino, but to those that are physically fit, I just don't see any reason to cut a walking day so short, that is assuming the weather is nice and one leaves SJPdP reasonably early in the morning, say by 8:00 am. In fact, on any given day, the majority of pilgrims leaving SJPdP in the morning do not stop at Orisson and walk all the way to Roncesvalles. I never even saw it as an option. I left SJPdP by around 7:00 am and less than three hours later I'm at Orisson. Grab a coffee, or fill up the water bottles and off again. Now granted, if you are wearing the wrong footwear, that first day will definitely be the tale of the tape. You will know, and your painful feet will be your guide.
Sure, if you got an extra day to burn, why not. Otherwise, unless you got stock in the place (and sometimes I think members of this forum do ;) ), take the walk all the way to Roncesvalles.
cheers
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
If you are 26, maybe! At age 70 the recovery is much slower. ;)

How many does Orrison hold??
How many start in STJJP in say the months of May or June??

The remainder do as Mark says ....over in one go or via Valcarlos in one or two days.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
How many does Orrison hold??
How many start in STJJP in say the months of May or June??

The remainder do as Mark says ....over in one go or via Valcarlos in one or two days.
I do not know the magic number but the number for dinner is limited to several long tables and the bunks and tents they what they have. There is nowhere else to stay and that is the reason for making reservations.
 

NHDori

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 18 (2016)
That's a good point, maybe there is an app for phones that is updated with albergues? Would be nice to know.

Lee
Camino Pilgrim can be downloaded for android based phones, not sure about iphone but I'm guessing it's probably available. It lists all villages along the way and what amenities are available, as well as the size of lodgings and contact information. I can't tell you how accurate it is because I have not yet left for my own Camino but I've used it extensively in planning.
 

NHDori

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 18 (2016)
I gotta respectively disagree on the advice that one should positively, absolutely, 100% stop and spend the night at the albergue in Orisson. I suppose that is indeed a prudent thing to do if one is not in the most optimum physical condition to walk the Camino, but to those that are physically fit, I just don't see any reason to cut a walking day so short, that is assuming the weather is nice and one leaves SJPdP reasonably early in the morning, say by 8:00 am. In fact, on any given day, the majority of pilgrims leaving SJPdP in the morning do not stop at Orisson and walk all the way to Roncesvalles. I never even saw it as an option. I left SJPdP by around 7:00 am and less than three hours later I'm at Orisson. Grab a coffee, or fill up the water bottles and off again. Now granted, if you are wearing the wrong footwear, that first day will definitely be the tale of the tape. You will know, and your painful feet will be your guide.
Sure, if you got an extra day to burn, why not. Otherwise, unless you got stock in the place (and sometimes I think members of this forum do ;) ), take the walk all the way to Roncesvalles.
cheers

I chose to stop in Orisson on my first day because I'm traveling for nearly two solid days before setting off. I figure starting easy the first day will give me time to recuperate from jet lag before tackling the Pyrenees.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
These threads always produce a wide range of opinion about the need for pre-Camino training. But one thing that is rarely discussed is the relevance of the baseline fitness. If you are active (and what constitutes "active" varies greatly from country to country -- in the US it is a pretty low standard) in your daily life, there is really very little need to "train." I have told this anecdote many times, but I remember asking some folks on my first Camino how they had trained, and a Belgian (I think) looked at me very quizzically and asked -- but how do you "train" to walk? After my first couple caminos, I just ratcheted up my daily exercise, and I now don't do anything special before embarking on a camino. If you are coming from a couch potato country like mine, you are likely to be way behind the average European in terms of general physical fitness.

The one thing that IMO is impossible to train for is the pounding that your feet will take on asphalt. Tendonitis happens to the most fit of people, and it's because of the repetitive foot strike on a hard surface. Which is why I fanatically look for the most narrow of dirt paths on the side of any asphalt road. And I also carry a plastic bag which I fill with ice every day after walking (bars are very accommodating if you buy a drink and sit outside) -- icing my shins as prevention has worked wonders for me.
 

Lachance

Me llamo Deb
Camino(s) past & future
Part Francese 2016
I'm going to come back to shoes (and socks) and distance. I have walked many miles and I have been repeatedly surprised (I'm a slow learner) to find that a lot of problems with shoes (and socks) don't slow up until I walk 15-20 kilometers a day for several days. Shoes that feel comfortable and broken in for short distances, daily tasks, or just one long walk often fail the long walk everyday test.
Same experience, using trail runners, except problems start showing up from about 10 K's. I'm hoping to break the day into 2 walks with a fair gap in between to mitigate this.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Same experience, using trail runners, except problems start showing up from about 10 K's. I'm hoping to break the day into 2 walks with a fair gap in between to mitigate this.

And without doubt it would be lunch time with a chilled riesling
You are on the right path D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
So much good advice as always.

After sitting behind a desk all my life and less than confident about my ability to walk such a distance, I particularly like advice such as:

“start with few kilometres, and gradually increase your distances as you get fitter” and “listen to your body”.

My only real concern is that at some point in the first week or so my body will tell me in no uncertain terms that I’ve done enough for today and I’ll look at my guidebook and find that the next albergue is, say, fifteen kilometres further along the way.

So I guess my question is – do I need to plan my accommodation in advance based on doing fewer kilometres in those first days or are there more albergues along the way than guidebooks suggest?

I feel as though this question is rather clumsily constructed so I hope you get my drift.
Hi all
I will be starting my first Camino in 2 weeks (yay!!) and have been doing some training. However, life has stepped in and the training has slowed, a bit like me really. I'm 57 and have walked a fair bit in the past with packs and without but not long, long distance. I've decided, as it is March and the route Napoleon is not open, to enjoy the stroll to Valcarlos on my first day, then perhaps stay in Espinal (a mere 18.4 km), then Larrasoana (about 20.5km) then Pamplona for 2 nights at a hotel to enjoy Easter! I hope this is a reasonable start and just to make sure I don't rush onwards immediately from SJPDP, I've booked the hotel in Pamplona in advance. Sort of a forced 'go-slow'. Hopefully this is a seemly start to my Camino.
Sue
 

trafferty

I believe I'm ready for another adventure!
Camino(s) past & future
june (2016)
Since I am a very old snail my last complete CF in 2014 took 7 1/2 weeks! See more here.
Tap here to find a snail!


Carpe diem!


Thank you. I just read your blog with tears in my eyes. So much beauty in so many forms. I am looking foward to my first camino in june at 65. The thing I am most worried about is that I will never be content again unless I am on the Camino.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
How many does Orrison hold??
How many start in STJJP in say the months of May or June??

Hi,

Although those questions are mostly rethoric, some figures :
- daily starts in May and June : 250 to 300
- Orisson capacity : 28, Ferme Ithurburia in Huntto : 42
which means that 1 pilgrim out of 4 may spend a night between SJPDP and Roncesvalles.

UK-Ireland-Australia-NZ-USA account for 20% i.e. 50 to 60 persons per day. My feeling is that they make a large share of Orisson customers for various reasons (jet lag for part of them, Orisson not listed in MMDD, this forum :)).
What about 30 to 40% stopping there ?
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Hi all
I will be starting my first Camino in 2 weeks (yay!!) and have been doing some training. However, life has stepped in and the training has slowed, a bit like me really. I'm 57 and have walked a fair bit in the past with packs and without but not long, long distance. I've decided, as it is March and the route Napoleon is not open, to enjoy the stroll to Valcarlos on my first day, then perhaps stay in Espinal (a mere 18.4 km), then Larrasoana (about 20.5km) then Pamplona for 2 nights at a hotel to enjoy Easter! I hope this is a reasonable start and just to make sure I don't rush onwards immediately from SJPDP, I've booked the hotel in Pamplona in advance. Sort of a forced 'go-slow'. Hopefully this is a seemly start to my Camino.
Sue


Brillant
Great places to stay in Valcarlos and Larrasoana
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago, Sept/Oct 2012
Le Puy to Roncesvalles, Oct/Nov 2014
The body will rest and the muscles mend themselves. Torturous shoes and ill-fitting backpacks, however, are never going to feel any better, so I would focus on feet and the fit of the pack. I did no training, but I had: 1) brand new un-broken-in shoes that fit well; 2) a backpack chosen after spending two afternoons walking around the store with fully-weighted packs (~15% of my body weight) -- but never used in real life until the day I set out; 3) great advice from this forum to smear Vaseline on feet to avoid blisters; and 4) walking poles to balance and distribute the stress on the joints. I am a reasonably fit person, but, at age 63, not a youngster, and I found that these preparations were all I really needed.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
The body will rest and the muscles mend themselves. Torturous shoes and ill-fitting backpacks, however, are never going to feel any better, so I would focus on feet and the fit of the pack. I did no training, but I had: 1) brand new un-broken-in shoes that fit well; 2) a backpack chosen after spending two afternoons walking around the store with fully-weighted packs (~15% of my body weight) -- but never used in real life until the day I set out; 3) great advice from this forum to smear Vaseline on feet to avoid blisters; and 4) walking poles to balance and distribute the stress on the joints. I am a reasonably fit person, but, at age 63, not a youngster, and I found that these preparations were all I really needed.

Vasaline and good boots , well done GML
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
Hi,

A word of caution : preliminary training will also prepare your bones, and prevent stress fractures. A typical overuse accident with recruits in boot camps, not to mention more senior pilgrims of both genders.
 

SusieQ2

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future, within 18 months ('16 or '17)
I think each individual has to assess their own physical fitness. At 33, I could have stepped out of my normal routine and attempted such a hike with no fears, but 20 years later, I know that would not be a smart idea. Two days ago, I went on a strenuous 4 hour hike in the mountains, with my backpack, and I'm glad I've had the comfort of my home to recuperate. Even my young, athletic son, who had an overloaded back pack, has experienced some discomfort he wasn't expecting. I have no Camino experience to draw on or compare but I think knowing ones limitations is important. I feel confident about my gear, but my body is not ready. One resounding piece of advice throughout this forum speaks to me, "Listen to your body." Had my brother heeded that advice, he would be here to make this journey instead of me.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I think each individual has to assess their own physical fitness. At 33, I could have stepped out of my normal routine and attempted such a hike with no fears, but 20 years later, I know that would not be a smart idea. Two days ago, I went on a strenuous 4 hour hike in the mountains, with my backpack, and I'm glad I've had the comfort of my home to recuperate. Even my young, athletic son, who had an overloaded back pack, has experienced some discomfort he wasn't expecting. I have no Camino experience to draw on or compare but I think knowing ones limitations is important. I feel confident about my gear, but my body is not ready. One resounding piece of advice throughout this forum speaks to me, "Listen to your body." Had my brother heeded that advice, he would be here to make this journey instead of me.
Yeah, I had the same thoughts when I was walking the Camino. I'd see the younger pilgrims moving along jauntily, almost running sometimes and think damn, I could do that too thirty years ago, ha ha. At that age I would have definitely nosedived into a Camino. Was nice being indestructible at one time, and definitely missed it some days when my knees were threatening to retire early, ha ha.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
These threads always produce a wide range of opinion about the need for pre-Camino training. But one thing that is rarely discussed is the relevance of the baseline fitness. If you are active (and what constitutes "active" varies greatly from country to country -- in the US it is a pretty low standard) in your daily life, there is really very little need to "train." I have told this anecdote many times, but I remember asking some folks on my first Camino how they had trained, and a Belgian (I think) looked at me very quizzically and asked -- but how do you "train" to walk? After my first couple caminos, I just ratcheted up my daily exercise, and I now don't do anything special before embarking on a camino. If you are coming from a couch potato country like mine, you are likely to be way behind the average European in terms of general physical fitness.

The one thing that IMO is impossible to train for is the pounding that your feet will take on asphalt. Tendonitis happens to the most fit of people, and it's because of the repetitive foot strike on a hard surface. Which is why I fanatically look for the most narrow of dirt paths on the side of any asphalt road. And I also carry a plastic bag which I fill with ice every day after walking (bars are very accommodating if you buy a drink and sit outside) -- icing my shins as prevention has worked wonders for me.
So right here. A lot of common sense. That's why anyone walking behind us may well think we have ants in our pants or maybe a bit inebriated as we go from side to side on Tarmac roads when we find a precious bit of grass. This crazy meandering may well have saved us from the dreaded tendonitis over the years!! Best wishes annette
 

kerrychick

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 camino francis 2006 porto way 2010 camino francis 2014 camino francis.starting in Logrono in sep 2016.
I gotta respectively disagree on the advice that one should positively, absolutely, 100% stop and spend the night at the albergue in Orisson. I suppose that is indeed a prudent thing to do if one is not in the most optimum physical condition to walk the Camino, but to those that are physically fit, I just don't see any reason to cut a walking day so short, that is assuming the weather is nice and one leaves SJPdP reasonably early in the morning, say by 8:00 am. In fact, on any given day, the majority of pilgrims leaving SJPdP in the morning do not stop at Orisson and walk all the way to Roncesvalles. I never even saw it as an option. I left SJPdP by around 7:00 am and less than three hours later I'm at Orisson. Grab a coffee, or fill up the water bottles and off again. Now granted, if you are wearing the wrong footwear, that first day will definitely be the tale of the tape. You will know, and your painful feet will be your guide.
Sure, if you got an extra day to burn, why not. Otherwise, unless you got stock in the place (and sometimes I think members of this forum do ;) ), take the walk all the way to Roncesvalles.
cheers
Well i don't have a share in Orrison ,wish i did but my point is that its one of the most beautiful experiences of the whole camino so why rush it ?wakeing up in the mountains and enjoying an early cup of coffee while watching the sun rise is so special and it makes me happy to continue with my fellow pilgrims .On another funny note i met an Irishman on one of my caminos and i asked him had he done much training for the camino he replied and it still crackes me up"he said ,loads sure im walking since i was two "and that about sums it up.
 

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