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How many training km's

did you do before starting your Camino ?
Leaving in 2 weeks time and have done around 100km over the last 3 weeks. Slowly building mileage. Hope to get in another 75-100km before leaving. Should be OK for 25-30km daily average ? Only walking Burgos -> S.C.

Got achilles tendonitis that doens't seem to get any better. Pretty sore on my only 20km walk a few days ago, so worried this could ruin my experience.
How many start out with an injury ?


Staff member
hey bear,

Unless you've been diagnosed by a Dr, much of what you're probably experiencing is due to your legs responding to new physical activity. Using muscles and stretching tendons that are more use to making a run to the store.

Stretch well...stretch well...it's the most important way to start your day.

I don't believe in over self medication, but have found that 200mg of Ibuprofen is of great help when you feel tight or slight pain. pain is the way your body says..."What's up with this exercise thing!" Since you're not running 100 m sprints, but rather hiking/walking...the problem is more than likely sore rather than tore.

If you're already doing 20km...you shouldn't have a problem. I assume that you're walking with your pack on.

If it continues check with a Dr.

Buen Camino,

Hi Bear,
Do some self-physio on sore muscles related to your tendons. Take a golf ball and put some Feldene Gel, or some other anti-inflammatory gel, on it. Then, gently and firmly rub the ball along where it hurts staying in the same area for a while, rather than rolling the ball all over your leg, as I did at first! :oops: And it will hurt....but it really helps. If you have plantar fasciitis, roll your bare feet on tennis balls until they no longer cause pain, then try golf balls, ow....I have been doing it while watching TV for a while now and I can push fairly hard on the golf balls with hardly any pain.
Hope that helps.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Bear50 said:
did you do before starting your Camino ?
Got achilles tendonitis that doens't seem to get any better. Pretty sore on my only 20km walk a few days ago, so worried this could ruin my experience.
How many start out with an injury ?
Bear, I have been having this very same problem, was worried it was going to make walking very difficult, and today I saw a podiatrist. Fortunately he has ruled out my having a foot mechanics problem, and it seems that the tightness and pain I am having in the achilles region are due to the tense calf muscles I have developed with all this walking. He has given me a couple of specific calf stretches, and suggested I use an antiflamme cream massaged into my ankle area to help settle down the inflammation. I think my ankle feels better already, just knowing what to do about the problem! (He is also making me some heel 'raises' to slip in my shoes when I feel pain coming on, to take the pressure off- but these are not essential and I won't necessarily take them with me.)

I know you don't have much time left, but maybe a visit to someone like a podiatrist would be helpful?
Bear50 said:
did you do before starting your Camino ?
None. Before 3.

It may not be the sensible way but as long as you have the strength of mind to take things slowly at the start and not get carried away, my own belief is that provided you are basically fit you can build up your strength on the journey. You must not try and keep up with people but go at your own pace until your pace matches others.

This especially applies to you if you have an injury a little walking should do no harm but push yourself too hard too quickly and you may make things worse.


Active Member
Bear50 said:
did you do before starting your Camino ?
None. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I was in pretty good shape from karate, boxing, yoga, and aerobics, so I didn't have any trouble with my wind or endurance. But of course, walking with a too-heavy pack on varied terrain is a different game altogether physically. My flat feet certainly didn't care for the pounding.

If I'd trained (and known about this site before I did the Camino), I probably would've left a bunch of useless stuff at home, instead of throwing it away/leaving it at albergues/mailing it to Santiago. And I'm sure I would've replaced my too-heavy boots at home vs. buying a new pair in Logrono. But, some of us have to learn the hard way, I suppose... :arrow:
Thanks for the encouraging replies.

It'll be a last minute decision to go "Caminoing" or be lazy in a hammock on a beach in Thailand :D
The latter sounds nice, but prefer to punish myself and drops some pounds of what seems to be pure lard around the waist :eek:

Had a massage of the calf muscles the other day and damn that was painful. Muscles were very tight and "knotty", so the maseuse had to work hard. Feels more loose now and taking some of the strain off the achilles and yesterdays 15km went pretty good. Breaking in some new shoes too and they gave me a few blisters. Hmmm....might have to go with them ol' broken in runners...

Buen camino to all


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
I did over 100 km traiing, with loaded pack (7kg) in the weeks before my 35-day Camino last year (May - June). I had some tendon problems during the training, but "heel raises" and arch support in my walking shoes (not heavy boots) did the trick.

The first 5 or so days after SJPDP were quite painful in one knee because I had not had sufficient time for my gait, muscles, tendons, joints to adapt to the arch supports.

However, things came good and I finished the Camino very strongly.

My stripped-down advice:

1. Be ruthless about cutting down weight carried. Pack, repack, discard items for each training walk until you have the bare minimum. This is especially true for pilgrims intending to walk the whole Camino Frances.
2. Avoid heavy leather hiking boots. Walking shoes or light hiking boots are fine unless you have a specific ankle/knee problem. I wore normal walking shoes and they were fine for me.
3. Walk at your own pace, and avoid trying to "keep up" with companions. Agree to meet up later.
4. Use a walking pole for support if soreness occurs.

Hope this is useful.

Bob M
In my opinion, your tendom problems comes because your muscles are not enough used to do this exercise. So, may be, 100 km is not enough. It's good to walk with your backpack, to let your back to know about this extra weight.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Javier Martin said:
It's good to walk with your backpack, to let your back to know about this extra weight.
Javier makes a point that I would like to expand on. General fitness for most urban dwellers doing ordinary things focuses on (1) aerobic capacity, (2) flexibility, (3) strength, and (4) endurance. These are the "Big Four" aspects of fitness.

However, each of these factors focuses on "subsystems" of the body, such as heart/lungs, muscles, tendons and joints. That's fine for normal, everyday life and typical sports as practiced by the average person - not elite athletes. Moreover, the "big four" deal only with the body - not the mind.

For unusual activities, such as sustained walking over weeks (eg the Camino), high-altitude trekking (eg Nepal, Andes), we need to adress a 5th fitness factor. I have called this factor "work hardening" in posts here last year, but a better word might be "contitioning".

Conditioning involves doing training activities as close as possible to the actual activity being prepared for (eg the Camino Frances). Conditioning trains the body and mind as one holistic entity, in conditions of terrain, weather and mental state similar to the actual event.

While gym workouts are useful for everyday fitness, they are done indoors, in comfortable weather, when one feels like it. In other words, gym conditions don't mimic the mental conditions one might face on a long distance walk, on which one might become tired, injured or simply de-motivated. The same comments apply to swimming and cycling, neither of which are remotely relevant to walking the Camino.

During the Camino, one will be carrying a pack in good and bad weather, so train with a pack and try to go out in bad weather as well as on nice days. In bad weather, when tired or hungry the bodily sub-systems and the mind adapt to those stressors in a connected way.

It's difficult to explain the concept properly in a short posting here, but I hope these remarks provide a glimmer of insight into why it is so important to train by doing the actual activity. Of course, that's exactly how the pilgrims of yester-year did it: they trained by doing the actual pilgrimage itself, taking rests and longer term stops as required. That's a valid way of proceeding, but most of us today are driven by fixed vacation and flight schedules, so we don't have time to "waste" (if I can put it so inadequately).

Anyway, I would be happy to expand on the topic if readers desire it.


Bob M


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Training should be specific to the activity you are going to indulge in. If training to compete in the Tour de France you don't go on long distance walks. If planning to run a marathon you don't do long walks as part of your training either. If planning to swim the channel, you don't necessarily include long distance runs or cycling as part of your training.
If you are going to do a long distance walk, then go on long distance walks. Endurance - or time on your feet - is just as important as stamina.
The only thing I would add to Sil's pithy advice - is to walk with a pack (at least 5kgs - if necessary filled with bags of sugar) - aim to walk for at least 4 hours - this will improve your stamina and test out your kit at the same time


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Long loaded walks might also test the mind to a very limited extent. Mental aspects of the Camino (and any challenging physical activity of long duration) are important in determining the likelihood of completing the journey. Two examples:

A young lady at an albergue was crying and quite upset because of sore feet, blisters and probably mental exhaustion. I never saw her again, but I hope she found the strength to continue and also that she found supportive companions in her trials. She had plenty of the latter at the albergue. One can draw on the strength of others, and this is very important.

I occasionally met a man during my 35 days on the Camino Frances who gradually became more and more disabled by injuries. I passed him again on the outskirts of Santiago. He walked with great difficulty, but he walked nevertheless. Mental strength (and perhaps inner faith) had got him there, and in so proving himself, he would know that mental strength would be a sure and faithful guide through life. Sometimes there is nobility in suffering, in not giving up.

The Camino tests both our bodies and minds. In surmounting difficulty (or being overwhelmed by it), we learn who we truly are. Therein lies the possibility of spiritual growth and the possibility of being a guide for others.

I hope these reflections are useful. May you also experience the gifts of insight as your mental Camino progresses alongside the physical Camino.


Bob M

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