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How much training do we really need?

nickymd1

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdN 2017
CFisterra 2017
Via Imperii + Via Regia | Berlin-Leipzig-Erfurt '18
Planning: CF 2019
So here's the thing: I live in Europe in a city where we walk *a lot*. I regularly walk 10-12 km in a day in my ballet flats and my 5kg laptop bag slung over my shoulder without an issue, and I've gone on a few 20-25km training 'hikes' to some of the hidden treasures in my city (combining asphalt, paving, and dirt paths) with a full pack in the last 2 months without any issues. I'm going to continue doing the weekend hikes as often as possible in the spring but they're more because I want to get used to my pack than for simple fitness.

Do I need to be concerned about starting some kind of intensive training plan in preparation for July? It seems to be something that more and more people are mentioning as the season starts but it feels a bit like overkill for me. I'm planning to take the first 3-5 days of my camino a little slower (17-25km days) to avoid the "over-excitement tendonitis" that two friends of mine who did CdN both experienced on their caminos.

Thoughts?
 
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H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
So here's the thing: I live in Europe in a city where we walk *a lot*. I regularly walk 10-12 km in a day in my ballet flats and my 5kg laptop bag slung over my shoulder without an issue, and I've gone on a few 20-25km training 'hikes' to some of the hidden treasures in my city (combining asphalt, paving, and dirt paths) with a full pack in the last 2 months without any issues. I'm going to continue doing the weekend hikes as often as possible in the spring but there are more because I want to get used to my pack than for simple fitness.

Do I need to be concerned about starting some kind of intensive training plan in preparation for July? It seems to be something that more and more people are mentioning as the season starts but it feels a bit like overkill for me. I'm planning to take the first 3-5 days of my camino a little slower (17-25km days) to avoid the "over-excitement tendonitis" that two friends of mine who did CdN both experienced on their caminos.

Thoughts?
Opinions can vary widely, nicky, but my own guess is that you're ready to walk out your front door and start it today - because you're young, have been doing half a day's Camino regularly anyway, and have a good plan to start out "slowly". I'm leaving tomorrow for the Norte, and others who have already done that particular Camino already will be able to tell you better, but your reasoning seems very sound about not overtraining. Buen Camino to you!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I'd concurr with the others. Once you get to the 6 mile or so area consistently, you're pretty much good to go. There are going to be bad stretches no matter what where you just have to slow down and take your time. I'd concentrate more on the socks, shoes/boots, etc. for blister avoidance. No matter how hard you train, if you end up with blisters it can put a real halt to the plan.
 

Ahhhs

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago, May 2015
Porto to Santiago, April 2016
Muxia-Finisterre-Santiago, April 2016
Camino Del Norte, April 2017
You'll be fine. You are accustomed to walking. No need to do anything special other than (as mentioned above) make sure your footwear feels right. Sometimes sedentary people overtrain in advance and cause problems before they start. Slow and steady works best.

Buen Camino
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
If you have built up to 25km on one of your weekend days, see how well you cope with doing this on two successive days then two successive weekends. If you pull up okay after that you won't have too much trouble on the Camino.

I certainly wouldn't intensify your weekday pattern.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) ; 1st Camino Frances September 2016-November 2016 ; Camino Frances August 2017-October 2017
So here's the thing: I live in Europe in a city where we walk *a lot*. I regularly walk 10-12 km in a day in my ballet flats and my 5kg laptop bag slung over my shoulder without an issue, and I've gone on a few 20-25km training 'hikes' to some of the hidden treasures in my city (combining asphalt, paving, and dirt paths) with a full pack in the last 2 months without any issues. I'm going to continue doing the weekend hikes as often as possible in the spring but they're more because I want to get used to my pack than for simple fitness.

Do I need to be concerned about starting some kind of intensive training plan in preparation for July? It seems to be something that more and more people are mentioning as the season starts but it feels a bit like overkill for me. I'm planning to take the first 3-5 days of my camino a little slower (17-25km days) to avoid the "over-excitement tendonitis" that two friends of mine who did CdN both experienced on their caminos.

Thoughts?
YOU are young, vibrant, healthy and most importantly a walker/trekker ... YOU , will have no problems !!!
My only advice, do not rush and enjoy the total experience from the vistas to connecting with people and yourself :)

Buen Camino !!!! :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
With those distances I'd actually suggest you taper off for the last couple of weeks before you leave, similar to marathon racers. Your body is obviously strong already but to start fresh and focus on endurance rather than strength could be a good strategy.

The CDN is also pretty hilly so if you can incorporate a bit of hill training at home you will activate the right set of muscles and strengthen the knees and hips, especially with a loaded backpack.

Good luck and Buen Camino!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
Training is a good thing in that it allows one to more easily enjoy the sights and sounds as one begins the walking/hiking. It is easier to enjoy the scenery, and the other things on that walk, when the pain of exertion is as minimal as possible. Many folks decide to train "on-the-fly", with the idea that they will assign the first week or two of a long hike towards conditioning. In the backpacking world, I have known a number of peers that will do this when beginning the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. It is one approach, and has its pros and cons.

You are in the category of being fairly fit to begin the Camino. As you are right now, you seem to be ready to go. If you wish to extend your fitness, there are a few suggestions that I can make.

1. Follow jozero's advice: "....if you can incorporate a bit of hill training at home you will activate the right set of muscles and strengthen the knees and hips, especially with a loaded backpack." Additionally, walking stairs for increasing lengths of time and with increasing backpack loads, as well as walking in the hills on increasingly steeper inclines will work wonders. This will increase the needed leg strength component of what you are now doing, as well as add to your aerobic fitness.

2. Do some additional strengthening on your core. This will greatly help with lower back muscles. Push-ups, in a variety of modifications to account for present condition, will help with shoulders and chest and upper back.

3. Stretching. Online and YouTube descriptions for stretching of leg muscles and other muscle groups used for backpacking are available. You don't have to go nuts, but stretching will be of help toward overall conditioning and injury prevention.

4. Ankles, feet, and lower legs. The thing that has been scientifically established to provide the highest level of ankle protection are strengthening exercises and balance exercises. Both can be found on YouTube and online. As well, strengthening and stretching to help prevent shin splints and tendonitis can also be found in those resources.

With a few exceptions, the above can be done by anyone. Where one's physical condition is at when one decides to begin conditioning will determine the intensity at which they pursue the above suggestions. Start at the appropriate intensity level to avoid problems. Conditioning should build up the body and soul, not tear it down.
 
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Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015) SJPdP (2016) Burgos (2017) SJPdP (2018)
I'm planning to take the first 3-5 days of my camino a little slower (17-25km days) to avoid the "over-excitement tendonitis" that two friends of mine who did CdN both experienced on their caminos.
Met two young guys in Estella. One had tried to keep up with his fitter/faster friend and had collapsed because he pushed himself far too far.

He'd gone and seen a doctor who had bandaged him from hip to toe and told him NOT to remove the bandages for a week and to NOT walk for a week after that - he had acute tendonitis and the doctors warned him that if he tried to walk much more he'd snap a tendon. He was going to book a taxi to get to the nearest rail station to catch a train to Madrid to catch a plane home.

He sent all his time sobbing his heart out because he had to go home.

I was fine with no training at all. My only problem was coming down into Roncesvalles which messed up my calf muscles and those at the front of my upper thighs which took me two days to get over and keep going

Be aware I was walking the Frances which I believe is one of the easiest.

DO NOT PUSH YOURSELF TOO FAR TOO FAST AND HAVE THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

Buen Camino.
 

angelab

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances June (2017)
So here's the thing: I live in Europe in a city where we walk *a lot*. I regularly walk 10-12 km in a day in my ballet flats and my 5kg laptop bag slung over my shoulder without an issue, and I've gone on a few 20-25km training 'hikes' to some of the hidden treasures in my city (combining asphalt, paving, and dirt paths) with a full pack in the last 2 months without any issues. I'm going to continue doing the weekend hikes as often as possible in the spring but they're more because I want to get used to my pack than for simple fitness.

Do I need to be concerned about starting some kind of intensive training plan in preparation for July? It seems to be something that more and more people are mentioning as the season starts but it feels a bit like overkill for me. I'm planning to take the first 3-5 days of my camino a little slower (17-25km days) to avoid the "over-excitement tendonitis" that two friends of mine who did CdN both experienced on their caminos.

Thoughts?
I'm planning on starting 6 June and have done no training. I have base level fitness. I arrived from Australia into London 10 days ago & had severe back pain until Sunday. I have done very little walking. I used to be a marathon runner many years ago so I believe my body still holds that memory and is able to do the daily distance. Yes, I could've trained before leaving Australia but I didn't. My plan is to take it slowly. I'm allowing myself 6-7 weeks :) listening to my body as I walk. The most important thing for me is the shoes! Buen Camino x
 

AlanB

Active Member
It's very difficult to train for walking 30km days repetitively without walking 30km days repetitively. If your lifestyle allows then a few good hilly walks with a backpack is great. I've walked several caminos (including del Norte) and I always find the first few days fairly hard. However I am familiar with my pain threshold so don't fret too much.I would worry if I felt a 'new' niggle anywhere. Usually on day 4 the muscle memory kicks in - It's as if my body says " ah, I remember this! here we go again" I met a doctor on one camino and he concurred that muscle memory is a real phenomenon. You will have a climb on day one but it's gorgeous. The hardest part I found on the first day was a section where you have to climb steps (can't remember where). It was tough but climbing steps uses different muscle groups so that can be explained.
 

Aoife72

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 16 May 17
Hi, we have just returned and really loved it! Very, very scenic. It was our second Camino and although we are very fit (runners more so than walkers) we did find parts of it tough enough. There's a decent climb up & over to Laredo (stunning) and again onto Playa Noja. We walked 30k and over each day so found ourselves much mire tired than last year (Camino Frances). There are not as many little pilgrim stop offs either so we walked 30k one day with just water & nuts! That was something we did not realise so we were caught out that day. Didn't get aches or blisters thankfully. Massaged legs every night with magnesium oil & changed socks half way through each day walking.
It is incredibly scenic & I am sure you will love it - buen camino
 

Gary94123

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto (2016)
I'd concurr with the others. Once you get to the 6 mile or so area consistently, you're pretty much good to go. There are going to be bad stretches no matter what where you just have to slow down and take your time. I'd concentrate more on the socks, shoes/boots, etc. for blister avoidance. No matter how hard you train, if you end up with blisters it can put a real halt to the plan.
Pre-tape and avoid blisters altogether.
 

Toreld

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, Fromista to SdC June/July 2016
You do not have to walk 25 km every day.
Just walk what is comfortable for you.
I did an average distance of 10 km a day and I did arrive in Santiago de Compostela, finally. ( started in Fromista)
The Camino is yours, your way.
As long as you are able to walk, you will always be fit for the camino.
It is not a competition.
Buen Camino.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
It sounds like you have basic fitness in place, and if you take it slowly at the start like you have indicated, you should be all right. People point to fitness levels and walking distances when they have a set amount of days and want to finish in that time.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
Do I need to be concerned about starting some kind of intensive training plan in preparation for July?
Take your time up until Deba Nicky,
Don't care how long you take , after that you will be ok.
But be mindful of the days before Bilbao.
 

Bardow

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
So here's the thing: I live in Europe in a city where we walk *a lot*. I regularly walk 10-12 km in a day in my ballet flats and my 5kg laptop bag slung over my shoulder without an issue, and I've gone on a few 20-25km training 'hikes' to some of the hidden treasures in my city (combining asphalt, paving, and dirt paths) with a full pack in the last 2 months without any issues. I'm going to continue doing the weekend hikes as often as possible in the spring but they're more because I want to get used to my pack than for simple fitness.

Do I need to be concerned about starting some kind of intensive training plan in preparation for July? It seems to be something that more and more people are mentioning as the season starts but it feels a bit like overkill for me. I'm planning to take the first 3-5 days of my camino a little slower (17-25km days) to avoid the "over-excitement tendonitis" that two friends of mine who did CdN both experienced on their caminos.

Thoughts?
Hola, ya estás lista para hacer El Camino. Siempre protege tus pies. Disfruta el Camino. Será inolvidable. Buen Camino!
 

nickymd1

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdN 2017
CFisterra 2017
Via Imperii + Via Regia | Berlin-Leipzig-Erfurt '18
Planning: CF 2019
Thanks everyone, those pieces of advice are a great help!

I guess it's one of those unfounded concerns I had as a result of previous injury (don't worry, my doc and physio have signed off on my Camino ;) My shoes have seen me though about 150km of training so far without a blister so I'm thinking we're good on that front, and I've planned in 38 days to get from Irun to Muxia . Now I just wanna LEAVE!!

Buen Camino all!
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
...Do I need to be concerned about starting some kind of intensive training plan in preparation for July? It seems to be something that more and more people are mentioning as the season starts but it feels a bit like overkill for me. I'm planning to take the first 3-5 days of my camino a little slower (17-25km days) to avoid the "over-excitement tendonitis" that two friends of mine who did CdN both experienced on their caminos.

Thoughts?
My 2 cents is that you do and do not need an intensive training program. I will explain.

I have done endurance sporting events: half marathons, glacier mountain climbing, 100 mile+ per day bike rides. I know my body. That is the key in my mind. If you really "know your body," you don't need to train excessively. It helps, but you don't need it assuming you are in the shape you discussed.

What do I mean by knowing your body? I mean knowing how often and what you need to eat to do a vigorous physical activity for hours on end. How to stay hydrated and not "bonk" from lack of fuel. I mean knowing when my body is telling me that something isn't right and I have better stop, rest and recover. I mean having learned long ago that how to properly tie my shoes/boots (it is a lost art, talk to some master runners) and changing my socks at lunch are all critical to avoiding blisters.

I mean knowing how to recover day after day after day for over a month. Half marathon training programs are often 3 to 4 months long with maybe 1 or 2 long runs a week, 1 or 2 speed runs, an easy run and a day or two of resting days for recovery. Over-use injuries are very common in such multi-month training. Those who do well on race day are the ones that learn how to protect their body and who take time each day of training to stretch, eat the right kind of foods at the right times so your body recovers for the next day and knows how to rest for the next day of training.

Your Camino will likely be a month long event with few rest days if you are the typical pilgrim. If you have not trained you will need to learn what your body is telling you very quickly unless you already know your body or you are very lucky. The typical advice is to go slow and short distances the few week or so. What that really means is give yourself some time to listen to what your body is telling you and start paying attention to the messages.

Good luck.
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
You do not have to walk 25 km every day.
Just walk what is comfortable for you. I did an average distance of 10 km a day and I did arrive in Santiago de Compostela
I did 20km or under per day my first Camino. Loved it! My only suggestion would be to start out slow, as people have said, let your body get used to it. After Bilbao you are cruising!
 

nickymd1

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdN 2017
CFisterra 2017
Via Imperii + Via Regia | Berlin-Leipzig-Erfurt '18
Planning: CF 2019
ok Nickymd1 how did it go?
Hey Terry!
Just got back to Berlin today so a perfect time to answer this! I walked 35 days from Hendaye to Finisterre with about 7.8kg SOW (6.7kg pack + shoes + change of clothes) and I carried about 2kg of food + water (dietary issues with gluten make the camino fun/interesting!).

It was amazing.

I was hugely fortunate to not have many blisters (which I attribute to having shoes that were the right size - meaning a full size and a half larger - and changing socks often the first week or so) despite walking 12 days in the rain (all before we reached Galicia - go figure!). I did have some issues with foot cramps and some very minor tendonitis at the beginning and near the end as a result of walking too fast through Cantabria to keep up with others and then twisting my ankle at Abadin and again near Miraz.

What did I learn?

Take your time up until Deba Nicky,
Don't care how long you take , after that you will be ok.
But be mindful of the days before Bilbao.
ONE OF THE BEST PIECES OF ADVICE EVER! I was fortunate that my body really likes going up hills. It does not like going down hills. The Basque country was a gas! I was lucky to be able to do the stages as most people do (Hendaye-San Sebastian-Zarautz-Deba) but particularly the walk into Deba was tough and I was glad I had gotten an early start. The hospitalero at the Albergue also might have saved my camino simply by being kind, patient and offering me a drink at the end of the Etappe from hell when I arrived at the Alb. without a check-in ticket!

If you are not feeling fit at the start, DO NOT WALK in the hight of summer. The bed race makes people stupid. I have seen things I cannot unsee. Feet that barely looked like feet when all was said and done; people who had such bad tendonitus on day 4 they were told by doctors to just. go. home. If your ankle or knee starts to hurt, stop, rest, massage, don't push. If it hurts for the next 2-3km/the next day, find the first open pharmacy and buy a bandage or a brace. Spending that 10 minutes and 10€ (and taking a rest day if you can!) might save your camino!

I would also say that I wish I had spent more time walking with a full pack. It wasn't the distance that got me (I managed to walk a number of 35km+ and 40km+ days); it was the weight. And I was carrying significantly less than the average! But particularly for the first week in the Basque country, your body is adjusting to a lot, you're likely not getting enough sleep, and walking up and down forest tracks in the mountains for hours (possibly in the rain) is likely to be quite different from your training hikes, so how you step in your boots will be different and your whole body is likely to feel it.

What do I mean by knowing your body? I mean knowing how often and what you need to eat to do a vigorous physical activity for hours on end. How to stay hydrated and not "bonk" from lack of fuel. I mean knowing when my body is telling me that something isn't right and I have better stop, rest and recover. I mean having learned long ago that how to properly tie my shoes/boots (it is a lost art, talk to some master runners) and changing my socks at lunch are all critical to avoiding blisters.

I mean knowing how to recover day after day after day for over a month....

Your Camino will likely be a month long event with few rest days if you are the typical pilgrim. If you have not trained you will need to learn what your body is telling you very quickly unless you already know your body or you are very lucky. The typical advice is to go slow and short distances the few week or so. What that really means is give yourself some time to listen to what your body is telling you and start paying attention to the messages.
OG - you were so right. I thought I understood my body, but I know it much better now. I trust it again after my injury, and I'm much more able to recognise pain that means stop, pain that means bigger problems, and pain that is temporary. Learning when to take a break and when to push through, and how much food and water I would need and then need to carry and where to carry it, etc. was important and I'm glad I wasn't clueless before but I learned a LOT.

Buen Camino all! The end is just another beginning!
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo

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