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How to train for the Camino

2020 Camino Guides

Franpio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Camino Frances May/June 2014
Hi Silvia.
I also plan to walk next year, the Le Puy route from the start of November.
The training that I have started is doing around 10km in one stretch once a week for a few weeks, basically until I felt comfortable with this and not feeling too tired afterwards.
Then I started doing up to 15 km until comfortable, I will keep adding on around 5km until I can do around 25-30km a couple of times a week.
When this has become comfortable for me I will lower the distance again but add a weighted pack on. At the minute I usually carry around 5kg with me, and after adding up the kit I intend to take with me, which comes to around 13kg, I will build up to this weight.
This is just my training schedule, and I'm sure others have different ideas, but what I would say is most important is to listen to your body as much as possible while training.
I walk pretty fast in my daily coming and going, and I noticed I was doing this when training, and I was getting very tired afterwards, the last few weeks I have tried to zone out while walking, so basically letting my body set the pace, and I've noticed a real difference in how I feel afterwards. It takes me slightly longer to complete training, but I feel much better afterwards.
I hope this helps,

Tony

Hi Tony

Thank you so much for this information. What you say makes perfect sense especially about the zoning out. When I am anxious about trying to clock up the kilometres every step becomes a drag. Your training schedule is similar to mine except I was adding the weight as I was upping the kilometres and I'm finding after 10k I'm so exhausted and wonder how I'll ever be able to carry a full pack(14lbs) and walk a possible 25k!!! I know a lot of it is a "Mind Thing". However with your idea of building up the kilometres first then you know at least you can walk that far then slowly build up the weight. Yes I think that is a far better way of doing it.....at least for me. How many weeks before you go should you be adding on the weight?
Thanks again for your information. I'm planning for early May on the CF.

Frances
 

FooteK

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPdP to SdC, mid May-late June (2013);
CF, Spring/Summer (2015)
Map my Walk is great.
Walk to ease your joints in to the effort that will be expected of them. Carry a comfortable weight but don't overdo it. Of course, make sure your boots are broken in.
For me, the most important training was not physical but mental.
 

filup501

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 4 2013
I didn't train at all. But, I did ride my bike a lot -usually 100 miles a week doing errands and such. I walked from Pamplona to Santiago Sept - Oct 2013 and was surprised that I had no trouble. I found out that I had good stamina to endure a 6 - 7 hr/day hike, and was able to climb hills non-stop. I never hiked before and never carried a backpack. I did hate hiking in humid weather and didn't care for the rain much. And, I'm no athlete. I often asked "are we there yet?", "how much further," and "how much more time?" I think I did pretty good for someone in their 60's! I think if you're pretty active you should not have a problem. I did learn that breaking in your boots means wearing them for more than a couple of weeks -and, that you can't microwave socks dry!
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
Here is my minimalist training plan, ideal for people who don't have much time to train before coming to the Camino:

1. Build up cardiovascular capacity so you can walk up a long, steep incline without getting winded (7-10% grade).
2. Build up quadricep strength, since those are the big muscles that power the legs and are needed to go up and down hills (squats, lunges, leg lifts).
3. Buy and learn how to use trekking poles to their best benefit.
4. Pack light.
5. Warm up, stretch, walk, stretch, cool down, glass of wine.
6. Keep your distances short for the first week of your Camino walk.

Enjoy and buen Camino!

~ Nancy
 

WayWalker63

Active Member
Map my Walk is great.
Walk to ease your joints in to the effort that will be expected of them. Carry a comfortable weight but don't overdo it. Of course, make sure your boots are broken in.
For me, the most important training was not physical but mental.
I love Map My Walk app! It is one of the best apps I've found, IMO!
 

Caplen

Wherever you go, there you are.
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2000 - Frances;
Summer 2001 - Norte/Frances/Fisterra;
Spring 2015 - SJPdP>Irun(GR10)>SdC((Norte)>Fisterra/Muxia
If your lifestyle does not already incorporate long distance walking, or the time to do so, on a regular basis, I'm not sure how much direct training you can do for the Camino. The ability to walk the Camino does not hinge on the ability to walk 20km once or twice, or even weekly, in training. Walking that distance day after day, every day, is a whole different animal, both physically and mentally.

And that's OK - I say this because I think most anyone can walk the Camino. No one should stay home just because they do not have the time to "train". Much of the "training" will happen on the Camino itself, if you're smart about it.

  • Do get in shape as much as possible - walk hills or on an incline treadmill, lift weights, do yoga, whatever you enjoy
  • Drop some weight in the process, if you can, if you need to. A lighter body along with a lighter pack makes a difference.
  • Find the boot/sock/lubrication/insole combo, and a backpack, that works for you. Do some longer hikes with your boots and a full pack to get things broken in and identify potential problems.
  • Be smart when you start the Camino. Walk slow, and do shorter distances the first week. Stretch, hydrate, eat well, take breaks, take off your boots at those breaks, use hiking poles, listen to your body, find your natural pace.
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
Just walk. And rather than train, plan more time for your trip, drop your agenda. Trying to squeeze it in to a particular time frame is an injury waiting to happen. If you don't think you can do that, pick a shorter route. It is a blessing to walk a pilgrimage not torture...
 

Tad

New Member
I'm only a week or so from my decision to do this and I'm starting to realize that...for me...the thing that might need the most training is my mindset. I've led a very sedentary lifestyle for the last few decades so the obvious thing for me was to get moving. So I started walking every day. After keeping at it for 9 days, some muscles are a little sore but nothing serious.

However, Sunday I was taking a drink after finishing about 10 kilometers through some minor hills in a county park and it hit me: Ugh! A day on the camino might be 2.5 or 3 times this! And day after day! The horror!

Objectively, I was pretty sure I could turn around and re-walk what I had just done without serious physical problem. But my mind was full of thoughts of my armchair, a good book and some nice tea. That was a real barrier.

For me, it seems to boil down to the old adage, "Get your mind moving and the body will follow."
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
finishing about 10 kilometers through some minor hills in a county park and it hit me: Ugh! A day on the camino might be 2.5 or 3 times this!
Only if you choose such! Five to 15 kilometer days are also possible, with or without a backpack. I recommend that you show up without expectations about your physical capability. Use the first two weeks as training weeks. There is an ad for sensible dieting that is currently running in the U.S. It reminds the viewer that you do not start an exercise program by running a marathon. Small changes are easier to sustain. Take that philosophy with you to the camino; do what you can, then quit. Do not push yourself for at least the first two weeks. You have nothing to prove to others by trying to stay with them. Choose your own, achievable, goals.

Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Your thinking is close here. It is good you recognize that ths is a significant physical challenge which in my mind made it one aspect that is rewarding. I suggest you also walk slower than you normlly would with plenty of rests on the actual Camino. Normally when we head out for a walk we have time constraints so I naturally walked this way on the Camino. Big misake! You have all day to walk and no harm in going slower and shorter distances as suggested above. To me the Camino was an experience of culture, history, geography and personal reflection together with comaraderie. There is no horror here .............. it's an awsome experience - just do it as you body allows you to.

Mark
Tad - I agree with Mark. The Camino is around 75% mental preparation and 25% physical. That you are starting the physical now is great - the more km's you put into your legs/feet the more your brain is going to know how to deal with the emotional aspects. Don't worry if you don't end up doing all the training some recommend - the Camino Frances allow you to start with short days (10 km) and build-up as both the mind; the heart; the legs; the feet all learn to cope. Also don't feel like a failure if you need to stop and rest for a day or so - in fact I would recommend that you plan to include at least 2/3 rest days. There are lots of interesting things to see on the Camino. Also if necessary take a bus if you need to cut out a section or two - remember you really only need to walk the last 100 km to qualify for a compostela (the church certificate). Have a great Camino and send us a report when you reach SDC:)
 

jstorybook

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
October-November 2013
I walked 1000 miles to prepare to walk 500 miles of the Camino. I trained for 6 months increasing my distance, towards the end of my training I was walking half of the daily distance I thought I would walk each day on the Camino (7-9 miles per day training and 14-18 miles a day on the Camino) 6 days a week with one rest day. My training walks was in an area where the terrain and walking conditions (road, trail etc.) were similar to the amino--with the exception that there are no mountains in Ohio. However, I did walk many hills. This worked for me for on the Camino I averaged about 15 miles a day walking for 34 consecutive days from St Jean to Santiago on the Camino Frances. I am 62 years old and was not in good shape before I started training. While training and walking the Camino I lost 72 pounds.
 
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D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
Start training, as a plus 60 yrs I climb a mountain, crough Patrick every 2 wks, 3 hours bliss, gets muscles going, a long walk on beach about 2 hours 2 times a week and my secret weapon, steps, again lucky on my beach 18 steps, i run up and down steps 18 steps 10 times that's total 260 steps, great for lungs, I crank that up to 2o times a few months before camino, but total rest for 2 wks before camino, never get a blister and competed still in bag after 7 caminos, I am fit for Pyrenees on first day, 6 hrs to roncesvalles and next day Pamplona, I then slow down for a week 20/25 km day, last wear old broken in boots, I cringe when I see brand new boots in sjpdep, trouble, blisters. Buen camino
 

Siobhan02

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May-June 2014
Le Puy Sept 2016
Start training, as a plus 60 yrs I climb a mountain, crough Patrick every 2 wks, 3 hours bliss, gets muscles going, a long walk on beach about 2 hours 2 times a week and my secret weapon, steps, again lucky on my beach 18 steps, i run up and down steps 18 steps 10 times that's total 260 steps, great for lungs, I crank that up to 2o times a few months before camino, but total rest for 2 wks before camino, never get a blister and competed still in bag after 7 caminos, I am fit for Pyrenees on first day, 6 hrs to roncesvalles and next day Pamplona, I then slow down for a week 20/25 km day, last wear old broken in boots, I cringe when I see brand new boots in sjpdep, trouble, blisters. Buen camino
I am new to this forum, though I will admit I have been trawling for info for a while. I am planning to walk the Camino Frances in May '14 and though I'm not incredibly unfit I don't want to ruin the experience with blisters and sore feet/legs. I have started, a couple of weeks ago, going for 5km walks after work, and doing a longer more challenging walk on the weekend, yesterday was 10kms flat bayside walk, the weekend before a more challenging hill climb.I am doing this in my hiking shoes and Teva sandals to wear them in, though when they rubbed my heels after a short while the other day I went barefoot and after 5 kms had some spectacular blisters on the soles of both feet. I think its a great idea to introduce carrying weight once you're comfortable with the distance, I will adopt that method... :)
Also I have signed up for a 12 week body challenge (run by one of the trainers on a TV show here in Australia 'The Biggest Loser') not because I need to lose weight but because all in all I want to be fitter and healthier...not getting any younger here! And it happens to coincide with my departure to Spain, and I am going horse riding for a week near Madrid prior to the walk...
 
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alexander ellul

New Member
Walking on the camino needs alot of preparation. Back home problems never seem to crop up but then all breaks loose on the camino. One year its the knees then lower back....the Camino is a reflection of my walk-of-life... it all has to do finding the right balance. Ask questions: why did I get this blister? Am I walking correctly? Am I wearing my shoes/laces correctly? Am I leaning on one side of the foot ? Besides regular walking my preparation time includes alot of body work on the upper body; as our walking sticks should take alot of the weight. Cardio is another important factor especially when I combine this with correct breating exercise: this helps slow down our heart rate thus less fatigue. Buen camino
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Walking on the camino needs alot of preparation. Back home problems never seem to crop up but then all breaks loose on the camino.
There is much debate on this, and many who would disagree that a lot of preparation is necessary. There is clearly a greater challenge walking day after day than doing a couple of long walks on a weekend, but getting walking fit is not that difficult.

My view is that you need to build up to the distances, extending your long distance walks by a half hour or so each week until you are able to reach the longest distance you intend to walk. The rest of the week should be shorter distances you can fit into your schedule without too much difficulty. For me that is about an hour in the morning, but you could consider cross training or gym sessions as well.

In the last month, start adding weight to your pack. If you already use a hydration pack, swap it for you trekking pack, and add more weight to that.

The big issue is if you are overweight, when getting weight off should be a priority. If you can, get your BMI under 30 at least before you start. It will just be so much more comfortable, and much less strain on you cardiovascular system and joints.
 

NicoZ

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
It's not a race.

You're walking not sprinting.

I'll go exactly the opposite direction and suggest learning to pace yourself. Learning to stop every so often. Learning things like adjusting your boots and packs.

If you're pigheaded (Believe me I am) you're more likely to get blisters etc. If you willing to stop and listen to your body you'll be better off.

No need to impress anybody. Nobody is handing out grades.
 

alexander ellul

New Member
@ Nicoz I totally agree: its definitely not a race. I am somewhat perplexed by the way pilgrims endure their pain. I think it somewhat related to penance. This is totally insane. On my last Camino I came across a discussion and one Canadian exclaimed "after all we are not here to hurt ourselves". This corresponds very much to our walk-of-life. When we do hurt ourselves we should stop and ask questions... am I overweight? then loose weight... yes our BMI is a other important issue. Take care and Godbless
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
I am somewhat perplexed by the way pilgrims endure their pain.
After buying the plane ticket and blocking a month of vacation, is there anything else to do when adversity hits on the camino?;)

Discomfort, yes; misery, no. Expect it to be difficult, but do not make it more difficult than it really is. The trick is knowing where the crossover point is. There is preparation and planning, then there is execution. Forcing execution to fit the mold created by planning can be very dangerous. Abandon expectations, and be flexible. That will make a camino much more pleasant.

Buen camino.
 

Alena

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013 - Astorga-Santiago-Finisterre
Camino Portuguese 2014 - Porto-Santiago
I did not train especially for the Camino, but exercising is a vital part of my lifestyle anyway, doing the Insanity workouts. So I generally think any sports activity would do you good and in my opinion it would be quite quite better if you do not only limit it to preparing for walking the Camino! Many sports train not only your body, but your mind as well - to be able to be self-motivated, to improve yourself daily, to continue...which is essential in life as well! As someone said earlier it is also a mental effort you will be facing. I think nothing I could do at home could recreate the experience of walking the Camino. And I am so glad for that! Enjoy the walk. ;)
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Porto - SdC - Finisterra 2011: E4 on Crete 2012: Le Puy - SJPdP 2013: Camino Madrid -> Del Salvador -> Primitivo 2014: European Peace Walk. 2015: Amsterdam - SdC & Barcelona -Burgos. 2016:Norte & hospitalero
After buying the plane ticket and blocking a month of vacation, is there anything else to do when adversity hits on the camino?;)

Discomfort, yes; misery, no. Expect it to be difficult, but do not make it more difficult than it really is. The trick is knowing where the crossover point is. There is preparation and planning, then there is execution. Forcing execution to fit the mold created by planning can be very dangerous. Abandon expectations, and be flexible. That will make a camino much more pleasant.
Buen camino.
I agree with this Falcon. But maybe we can see this is also as 'the camino gives what you need'. If suffering is what someone for whatever reason needs, it is provided by the camino.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
 

Mark Gaulicia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes, past present and future.
I think there is a very good point made in the opening part of the thread. As someone who spends much of his life on foot, 'pace' of your walk is very important and can really help you avoid feet issues. Keep to a mechanical pace, try not to push the pace, let it come you will be fine. Harden your feet up and let the mind open, try to forget time and you will be fine.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
Hola Packinglight - would you please advise the name of the tracking app you are using, or is the "Map My Walk" mentioned below. Thanks
I have used several apps for both everyday walking/training and on the Camino. I find the MapmyWalk app to be a bit better for use in everyday walking/training but use MotionX GPS when on the Camino.

MotionX allows you to pre-download all maps, including cities, that you might want for off-line use. It also allows for downloading GPS routing so you can easily follow along. Excellent on the less traveled routes to insure you don't wander too far off the track or to find your way back if you do....also just a little fun to keep from getting bored if you are so inclined.
There are other threads about GPS tracks. Excellent advice. GPS is available on most smart phones without a connection needed...it just operates as a GPS unit..off line.

For training...I now walk 20 plus miles (32 km) several times a week from my front door. This is primarily hard surface (sidewalks/asphalt) as that is what is available. It does include a lot of steep hills both up and down.
I do not presently have a date scheduled for another camino but try to stay conditioned all of the time so that getting into shape is not difficult. I don't carry a camino weight pack on these walks...just a convenient day pack.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2009 April - May
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this site and I'm wondering how do you train to do the Camino? I've been hiking every Saturday and each week adding more time/miles, but listining to my body so that I don't over do it and get injuries.

Any suggestions? I'm planning on walking next year not sure if summer or early fall (probably).

Thanks,
Silvia
My training was red wine and tapas!! Don't over do it - either walking, drinking or eating. Have a look at [commercial link removed by moderator] for info about what to take and weight and remember to enjoy it!!
 
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FooteK

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPdP to SdC, mid May-late June (2013);
CF, Spring/Summer (2015)
I trained by walking. Pleasantly. Checking to make sure that, when my walk was over, I felt good physically and especially mentally. The more I walked, the quicker my recovery. Here in Germany there are "Volksmarches" every weekend so there was no shortage of opportunities to walk through towns and fields for varying distances, never more than 20 kilometers. I usually walked alone (in the crowd) since that was what I would be doing on the Camino. I did NOT walk every weekend.

Take it easy and don't make yourself unhappy. Enjoy and remember to stop and smell the roses. No matter how you train, you will probably not be totally prepared for what the Camino has in store for you. Relax and let your excitement carry you along. Buen Camino everyone!!
 

WineShoppe Guy

John Morritt
Camino(s) past & future
(2013)-SJPP to SdC
(2014)-SJPP to Burgos
(2015)-Burgos to Leon
(2016)- Leon to Finesterre
My training for the camino contained one big mistake I think.
I was 65 year old, retired, I was not a walker but was fit enough to enjoy "normal" life, I walked over 1400km in the year before I walked the Camino Frances from SJPP to SdC in August-September 2013.
I can describe my mistake this way:
: I was too concerned about ramping up training distances to quickly. Within 2-3 week I was walking 12-16 km sessions 3 times per week. Walking these distances caused leg and feet pain.
: within the 1st month of training I bought walking poles and began using them aggressively like a Nordic skier would, I noticed my pace increased but not comfort doing these distances. I believed that the poles contributed 25% to the effort required.
: with the help of hindsight, this benefit does not reduce the effort on all leg muscles equally. Calf muscles work harder, quads, glutes, hamstrings work less I think. In effect, my legs were being trained un-evenly with the aggressive use of poles.
: a physiotherapist I met along the Camino told me that poles can easily cause your stride to elongate more than without poles. This tightens the calves, pulling on the achilles and all the muscles and tendons in the feet.
"What is the solution"I asked?
"Stretching at day's end!"
"How much", I asked?
"15 to 20 min per leg per day" she said
"YIKES! That will ruin my Camino experience" I protested.
"Any alternatives" I inquired hopefully?
"Yes, stop using the poles for propulsion, just use them for stability" she replied.
This all took place in Mansilla de las Mulas, 450 km into my Camino and my feet were a mess. It wasn't the boots that were going out of shape, it was my feet.
From there, I stowed the poles, began stretching my legs at every stop for a minute or so and within 3 days things were better, not perfect, just better.
Now home, I have had weekly massages to get the knots, tightness and lesions out of my legs and feet. The therapist has told me that I had these before I left, probably even before training started.
So what advice might I offer.
- build walking distances slowly. If you are not sure if you will ever be able to walk 25km in a day, your answer will take some time. Be patient.
- walk a little every day. 5-8km to build leg strength and throw in a longer walk every one in a while. Ramp up as leaving date approaches
- limit use of poles
- stretch and do something to build core strength.
- train with a gradually heavier pack closer to leaving
- visit a qualified massage therapist a month or so before starting your Camino. Get an evaluation. Have a massage. Relax! Ah!
- 30km a week over 6 days is better than 30km a week over 2 days. The Camino experience is an everyday experience.

These ideas are only mine. Yours will no doubt be different. That's a Camino thing too.

This year I am going back to Spain to walk and will be testing my training ideas. More later!

Regards from CANADA

JOHN
 

serenalms

Member
Camino(s) past & future
October 2013
And that's OK - I say this because I think most anyone can walk the Camino. No one should stay home just because they do not have the time to "train". Much of the "training" will happen on the Camino itself, if you're smart about it.
Just walk. And rather than train, plan more time for your trip, drop your agenda. Trying to squeeze it in to a particular time frame is an injury waiting to happen. If you don't think you can do that, pick a shorter route. It is a blessing to walk a pilgrimage not torture...
I completely agree with the advice above. I did hardly any training at all prior to the camino and was really worried about it, and I'm not going to lie... the first week was awful. It sucked. But it sucked mostly because I was forcing myself to keep up with other people and pushing myself farther than I should have been. When I realized that this wasn't a race and that I needed to go at MY OWN PACE, which was considerably less than that of others (and specifically less than the Brierly stages), I was 100 times happier. I went slower, stopped when I wanted to, and had a really great time. In the beginning I was doing about 15k a day but by the end I had built up to a solid 25k+ a day. But had I followed the Brierly stages, this would have put me "behind" schedule.

If you don't have time to train as much as you would like, then just adjust your personal attitude toward it and be flexible with your timing. It's okay to take a shorter route. And it's also okay to take a bus if you fall behind.

The best advice I can give is to to listen to your body and not to your ego. Sometimes your body is telling you that you need a break, but your ego tells you to suck it up and keep it going. Don't do it! Tell your ego to shove it.

So listen to your body and enjoy! The camino is supposed to be challenging but it's not supposed to be miserable!
 

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
Training for the Camino:
(1) spend a lot of time reading this forum sitting at the computer
(2) do some walking around hiking shops choosing gear
(3) eat cakes (madrilenas) for breakfast, have fried potatoes with everything, drink plenty of red wine at lunch and eat churros and chocolate every night; this will accustom your stomach to Spanish food
(4) get as much sleep as possible in preparation for disturbed nights in noisy dorms
(5) pray a lot for St James to help you make it.

But seriously, most of my training for the Camino is walking the Camino. I complain a lot for the first two weeks. Do not follow my example!
 

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 sloping 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.

MM
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
I am new to this forum, though I will admit I have been trawling for info for a while. I am planning to walk the Camino Frances in May '14 and though I'm not incredibly unfit I don't want to ruin the experience with blisters and sore feet/legs. I have started, a couple of weeks ago, going for 5km walks after work, and doing a longer more challenging walk on the weekend, yesterday was 10kms flat bayside walk, the weekend before a more challenging hill climb.I am doing this in my hiking shoes and Teva sandals to wear them in, though when they rubbed my heels after a short while the other day I went barefoot and after 5 kms had some spectacular blisters on the soles of both feet. I think its a great idea to introduce carrying weight once you're comfortable with the distance, I will adopt that method... :)
Also I have signed up for a 12 week body challenge (run by one of the trainers on a TV show here in Australia 'The Biggest Loser') not because I need to lose weight but because all in all I want to be fitter and healthier...not getting any younger here! And it happens to coincide with my departure to Spain, and I am going horse riding for a week near Madrid prior to the walk...
Siobhan02-- all that is wonderful, but beware of risks BEFORE the Camino. I personally would had book the horse riding thingy for AFTER... ;)
 

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
All of us should just KEEP moving. Each time I garden on our sloping 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.

MM
And there is the interesting study of housemaids in motels; even though their work was very physical they tested as having poor fitness levels. But after it was pointed out to them that the incidental exercise they did each day was equivalent to a gym session they mysteriously lost weight and hugely improved on the fitness tests! So just being aware is helpful. I'm hoping that thinking about fitness will get me there....
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
And there is the interesting study of housemaids in motels; even though their work was very physical they tested as having poor fitness levels. But after it was pointed out to them that the incidental exercise they did each day was equivalent to a gym session they mysteriously lost weight and hugely improved on the fitness tests! So just being aware is helpful. I'm hoping that thinking about fitness will get me there....
Kanga,
I am now in a very serious thinking mode........

I think I'm fit,,,,,,,,,,,
I think I'm fit,,,,,,,,,,,
I think I'm fit,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,:rolleyes:

Buen fit thinking Camino
 

viv1959

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to commence late May 2014 - Camino Frances
Training for the Camino:
(1) spend a lot of time reading this forum sitting at the computer
(2) do some walking around hiking shops choosing gear
(3) eat cakes (madrilenas) for breakfast, have fried potatoes with everything, drink plenty of red wine at lunch and eat churros and chocolate every night; this will accustom your stomach to Spanish food
(4) get as much sleep as possible in preparation for disturbed nights in noisy dorms
(5) pray a lot for St James to help you make it.

But seriously, most of my training for the Camino is walking the Camino. I complain a lot for the first two weeks. Do not follow my example!

Thank you Kanga, sounds like I have my training sorted!

However on a more serious note, (long story short) I am having some very significant problems with my hip/lower back at moment (result of long term structural issues)and have been restricted to short, flat walks. My flights are booked for end of May and there is no way I am not going. Reality check is that I will probably not be able to start from SJDP.

As I see you have done multiple caminos, I was wondering if you could make a suggestion as to where I could start that would be relatively flat (as down hills in particular are a big problem at the moment). I fly into BIarritz on May 13 but will need a few days to get over jet lag.

Any suggestions (which do not include postpone the trip) would be greatly appreciated. I have the time to take it slowly. Many Thanks
 

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
Mmm. Regardless of where you start there are hills on the Camino Frances (commonly known as "the Camino"). Spain is second only to Switzerland in average elevation (in Europe). The meseta between Burgos and Leon probably is the flattest part; but even that has a steep hill out of Castrojeriz - but Fromista to Leon is flat. Of course you can catch buses and taxis everywhere and my friend with only 15% lung capacity did that. For example he started walking from SJPDP along the Valcarlos route (there was no way he could have even started the mountain route) and when the road started to get too steep he called a taxi which took him to Roncesvalles. He could have stopped overnight at one if the villages but wanted to keep up with us. You can also have your pack carried the whole route which might help. Just that catching taxis and buses the whole route rather defeats the purpose.
Have you thought about one of the other Caminos? I've never done the Via de la Plata so can't assist with that but in France I've walked from Orleans on the pilgrim trail (Via Touronensis) which is flat, and took a detour on the Arles route to walk the canal du Midi (dead flat!).
I'm sure others on the forum will also have suggestions.
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
Mmm. Regardless of where you start there are hills on the Camino Frances (commonly known as "the Camino"). Spain is second only to Switzerland in average elevation (in Europe). The meseta between Burgos and Leon probably is the flattest part; but even that has a steep hill out of Castrojeriz - but Fromista to Leon is flat. Of course you can catch buses and taxis everywhere and my friend with only 15% lung capacity did that. For example he started walking from SJPDP along the Valcarlos route (there was no way he could have even started the mountain route) and when the road started to get too steep he called a taxi which took him to Roncesvalles. He could have stopped overnight at one if the villages but wanted to keep up with us. You can also have your pack carried the whole route which might help. Just that catching taxis and buses the whole route rather defeats the purpose.
Have you thought about one of the other Caminos? I've never done the Via de la Plata so can't assist with that but in France I've walked from Orleans on the pilgrim trail (Via Touronensis) which is flat, and took a detour on the Arles route to walk the canal du Midi (dead flat!).
I'm sure others on the forum will also have suggestions.
Look at the camino Portuges forum. Actual item at this moment.
Bom caminho
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
I saw a talk on biking from northern Canada to southern Argentina. He was asked about preparation....answer---two weeks of incredible partying.
 

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
I saw a talk on biking from northern Canada to southern Argentina. He was asked about preparation....answer---two weeks of incredible partying.
Now that's my guy.
 

sriyantra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances September "2014"
W
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this site and I'm wondering how do you train to do the Camino? I've been hiking every Saturday and each week adding more time/miles, but listining to my body so that I don't over do it and get injuries.

Any suggestions? I'm planning on walking next year not sure if summer or early fall (probably).

Thanks,
Silvia
we are currently in hontanas. We are in our mid 60s. Our advice would be to train on rocky ground because there is a lot more of that than we expected and therefore more twists on feet and boots. We trained on flat and hills but had no real off road conditions near us. Buen camino
 

Luminaria

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept (2015)
I'm not walking until summer 2014, but I'm already training!
I got a nice app on my smartphone which uses GPS to track my route/speed then sends me weekly and monthly summaries. It's very motivating for me.
I'm in my 40s, very overweight but fit for my weight, if that makes sense. Last month I walked about 110 kms, month before over 150. This includes walks to and from work, and extras where I can. July I've hardly walked at all but I'm doing home renos and tennis 4X / week.
I don't use the app at work but my job isn't sedentary so that helps keep me moving.

I'm alternatively excited and terrified of doing the Camino. I figure at my age, weight, and lack of hiking experience, I need to raise my general fitness and endurance as much as possible. My poor knees and ankles don't need the extra body weight in addition to carrying a pack day after day.

I'm doing a 5-day walk next month on a portion of the Jakobsweg in Austria, although we haven't decided yet which portion! That should give me a feeling as to how much walking I can do.
Hello! What walking app were you using? I have one, but it doesn't send me reports like this, just one immediately after each walk.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
We use a simple pedometer which gives kms walked each day over 7 days, energy used,calories needed etc. Runs on a battery which lasts about 6 months. We try to walk daily, differing distances and with a pack, but not full weight unti nearer departure date when distances and load are put up to approx Camino levels. If you have no hills then use the stairs at work so that your muscles get used to ascents and descents.
Buen Camino
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
I've found 'Footpath' to be a useful app on my iPhone. It's free (already a good start); shows my walk on a map, gives me distance walked; speed of my walk; calories expended (if I input my weight); has auto save so I don't lose my info; lets me know (if I want) when a kilometre has passed, & gives accumulative distance. I can set it to start when I have wifi, after that it doesn't need any connectivity so doesn't cost me anything to run during the walk. I can also link up an iPod playback to it.
Suzanne :)
 

jimkaszynski

RIP 2014
Camino(s) past & future
First step June 1st 2013
Good advice above. One exercise helped me a lot was walking up and down stairs, I live in a 13 story condo and I would do 4 sets of up and down. The going down helped as much as going up. Had no blisters or shin splints. Of course drinking water is so important. If your thirsty, you waited to long. Max out with water every morning.
 

joseywales

New Member
Great advice.

One question:
For the polypropylene inner sock what percentage polypropylene should they be? I see some that are 100%, I see some that are 83% nylon, 15% polypropylene and 2% spandex.

If anyone has a link to some of the ones that they have successfully used please post.

Thank you!


Training and blisters are not related (except for finding "hot spots" caused by your boots during training walks). Following is the fool-proof way to avoid blisters:

Work in your boots for several hundred kilometers before heading for a long walk. When buying boots, wear the sock combination detailed below in order to get a proper fit. Do not be surprised if the size you buy is different from your normal shoes, perhaps a 1/2 size larger and a step wider (I wear narrow A or B width shoes, but buy a D boot to accommodate socks and an anti-pronating inner sole).

Use a silicone-type lubricant on clean feet each morning (Sportslick and Hydropel are two brands available in the U.S.; Amazon.com carries Sportslick). It waterproofs your skin. Moisture is the primary cause of blisters.

Wear a polypropylene inner sock to wick away moisture. DO NOT USE COTTON SOCKS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Wear a wool or wool-blend outer sock (Thorlo). I use medium weight socks, but you may like heavy or light weight. Pick the one that does not make your boots too tight. Much of the friction inside your boot will be absorbed between the polypro liner and the wool sock. In effect, the polypro adheres to your foot and its lubricant, and the wool sock adheres to your boot.

Carry some Compeed. Compeed on the shelf of a nearby farmacia will not help you when you really need it! If you detect a "hot spot" on your foot, stop IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait for the mentally-scheduled break on the hour. Do not let walking companions deter you. Their desire to get to that first cafe con leche could end up ruining your five week Camino as you limp along with a growing blister. Eventually your other foot and leg will develop problems as you change your gait to compensate for the blister. While everyone else is having fun doing eating, drinking, and doing laundry, you will be tending your blister. Honestly, your friends are NOT worth it! You can always find new friends, but the blister-to-be is your private-enemy-number-one and needs you now.

Thoroughly clean the hot area with isopropyl alcohol so that the Compeed will adhere. Warm the Compeed in your armpit for a minute, then apply it over the hot spot. Do not remove it until it falls off of its own volition. It will rip a hole in new skin even better than it prevents a blister!

A minor cautionary note: The silicone lubricant can make your bare feet very slippery on some surfaces, so tread carefully to and in the shower.

If you follow ALL the steps, I guarantee that you will never have a blister. Skip one, and all promises are off.

Other things that help promote foot comfort are removing your boots and socks each hour to let them dry a bit (a Japanese fellow pilgrim squeezed lemon juice onto his feet at each stop to dry them!); changing socks midday; and putting on dry socks after the rain stops (though I have hiked for several days in wet/damp socks and been protected by the silicone).
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Great advice.

One question:
For the polypropylene inner sock what percentage polypropylene should they be? I see some that are 100%, I see some that are 83% nylon, 15% polypropylene and 2% spandex.

If anyone has a link to some of the ones that they have successfully used please post.

Thank you!
My view is that the major issue is that liner socks DON'T have any cotton in the mix. I currently use liner socks that are a wool blend or coolmax. I don't think either of the fabrics has any polypropylene.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Use a silicone-type lubricant on clean feet each morning (Sportslick and Hydropel are two brands available in the U.S.; Amazon.com carries Sportslick). It waterproofs your skin. Moisture is the primary cause of blisters.
Sorry, I realise this is an old thread, but......... Can these products be bought along the CF, or do you bring enough for the whole walk? Couldn't see anything about buying locally (maybe I missed it)
 

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP: May/June 2015; English Route Nov 2015; Lycian Way Oct 2015; Coast to Coast Aug/Sep 2015; West Highland Way July 2015; Hadrians Wall June 2015; Westweg Jul/Aug 2015..... ..... .... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2020; A Coruna 2020... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2025... .. . SJPdP May/June 2030... .. . SJPdP May/June 2035... .. .
I didn't even know I was going to try to do the Camino until about 10 days ago when we started planning for a family reunion in Europe for mid july... so I decided to expand the trip and now it includes 4 major hikes.

Really i've been a big hiker for years anyways and after a real bad ankle roll last October knocked me off anything long for a few weeks i've also picked up distance running since mid-november + I LOVE yoga and do P90X off and on for strength training.

My plan (whilst still work) is to keep up the raining and hiking (about 60 KMs/week) until I quit my job around early April then do a week of hard training (120 Kms +) then a LOT of yoga and light hiking/running for 3 weeks.

Keep in mind I am doing the Camino from SJPdP... then flying to Newcastle and hiking Hadrian's wall (7 days) ... then training to Glasgow and hiking the West Highland way (7 days)... then I have a family break for 2 weeks, then flying to Stuttgart and walking the Westweg Schwarzwald (13 days).

Honestly if I had to pick on thing only it will still probably be recommending yoga. I've seen yoga fix some serious issues with people who gave it a chance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Camino Portuguese, Appalachian Trail SoBo 2014 ME/GA
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this site and I'm wondering how do you train to do the Camino? I've been hiking every Saturday and each week adding more time/miles, but listining to my body so that I don't over do it and get injuries.

Any suggestions? I'm planning on walking next year not sure if summer or early fall (probably).

Thanks,
Silvia
The best way to train is to take a hike with your pack. Maybe not 20 miles, but hike a few miles, as often as you can.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Sorry, I realise this is an old thread, but......... Can these products be bought along the CF, or do you bring enough for the whole walk? Couldn't see anything about buying locally (maybe I missed it)
Hi robo
In Spain, in almost all the farmacias I went into along the way, there is a section of stuff aimed at feet. Compeed, etc. The slide stuff, it might not have the same name but generally all similar to Vaseline. Many people take a small jar of Vaseline and replace as needed

Annie
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
The best way to train is to take a hike with your pack. Maybe not 20 miles, but hike a few miles, as often as you can.
This might be okay if someone is starting from a higher fitness level, but it really doesn't help others. Even as a regular walker, I prefer a gradual build up of both distance and pack weight when I am preparing for longer distances. Also mix up distances. I do shorter walks during the week and my longer walks on weekends, building up each week in small increments of around 2-3 km. I rarely walk with my full Camino pack until the last couple of weeks, but do carry a day pack (maybe 5kg max) on weekend walks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Camino Portuguese, Appalachian Trail SoBo 2014 ME/GA
This might be okay if someone is starting from a higher fitness level, but it really doesn't help others. Even as a regular walker, I prefer a gradual build up of both distance and pack weight when I am preparing for longer distances. Also mix up distances. I do shorter walks during the week and my longer walks on weekends, building up each week in small increments of around 2-3 km. I rarely walk with my full Camino pack until the last couple of weeks, but do carry a day pack (maybe 5kg max) on weekend walks.
Absolutely. However, doing some short hikes will give someone an idea of wether the Camino is feasible or if they need a more rigorous program of conditioning. I started the Appalachian Trail with 3 weeks of preparation that included a handful of day hikes with my pack. I completed the whole trail (2,185 miles) and went from doing a hand full of miles a day to consistently doing 20+. I lost about 40 lb. I got in condition on the trail. There were people who quit despite planning a lot more than me.

In the end, it is a question of whether your spirit is weak or not. You need determination to complete any trail.
 

p.saffrie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino 16 May 2015
Future 2020- 2025-2030 etc
Hi there,

Due to work and not making time free for training I walked 4 x 12.5 km as training. With the idea to use the first week of the Camino as training.
The first day leaving SJPP I was hit by the elevation. In the Netherlands all's flat and so even if I wanted I could not train for it.
I never walk at home and did the Camino Frances in 31 day's without problems. Main thing is to listen to your body and adjust your speed or plans.
take it easy and enjoy. Buen Camino
 

Gabe

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June/July 2015
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this site and I'm wondering how do you train to do the Camino? I've been hiking every Saturday and each week adding more time/miles, but listining to my body so that I don't over do it and get injuries.

Any suggestions? I'm planning on walking next year not sure if summer or early fall (probably).

Thanks,
Silvia
Simply make sure you are walking/training with a pack that has similar weight to what you will be carrying on the Camino. This will make a HUGE difference
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Simply make sure you are walking/training with a pack that has similar weight to what you will be carrying on the Camino. This will make a HUGE difference
Very sound advice Gabe.

I'll add three points that somewhat conflict with each other. There's no right answer perhaps :eek:

  1. Build up training gradually over time and don't do too much road work. I ramped up my training too quickly 3 months out from my Camino and gave myself Achilles Tendonitis. Which I still have :( Impact of concrete / tarmac roads.
  2. Even small amounts of additional weight 'feel' a lot on your feet, legs, joints. Due to injury, the first time I hoisted my full pack was leaving for the Airport. I felt every step! Months before, I would often practice by doing the food shopping with my pack. And then weigh the pack when I got home. If it was over 10 kg I knew right away, as it was much harder on my feet. 7-8 kg just felt much more manageable.
  3. Start slow on your Camino in the first few days. Take it easy and you will build up strength, fitness, endurance as you go.
 

Our Gran

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
My personal choice: http://www.sportslick.com/

I used http://www.2toms.com/products-page/spor ... ld-roll-on this October, and it kept my socks much cleaner than the SportSlick. Other users have found the powder very messy to use, but the roll-on was great for feet and inner thighs.

From a runners' website:
Thanks Falcon for your detailed comments. I am at the very early planning stage and already feel I am benefitting. We are planning on the last 100kns only. I have had a knee replacement and will be my first ever distance walk. July 2017 which hopefully won't be unbearably hot. Many thanks
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
July 2017 which hopefully won't be unbearably hot.
We will hope with you! Today seems to be quite pleasant, but July typically gets into the 90's with humidity. Don't try for "traditional" stages if you are having physical problems. Take nine or ten days to do the stretch. If you keep the actual walking to an hour with plenty of coffee, food, water, and rest breaks, you will enjoy it and avoid injury. Keeping your pack with you will allow you to stop a few kilometers early or late on planned stages. Go to this site to see stopping places and the elevations:
http://www.godesalco.com/plan/frances

July is a busy month, so the smaller places will have the easiest beds to find. If you stop at noon each day, you will miss the heat and the crowds. Buen camino!
 

terryvinet

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances/Finest September 2013
VDLP September 2016
Salamanca to Santiago/Finesterra/Muxia 2017
I found the best way to train for the camino, was to start with only one glass of wine per day, and the slowly increase until you reach the required 2 bottles per day.
;)
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Oops, whilst I agree with the idea, two bottles a day is a bit too much - even for me ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 

superleggera

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
For training, please try to go 'off-road' on trails as well as on pavement. And do hills as much as possible. There are so many different muscles that you use in your legs, ankles and feet for each kind of terrain that if you don't strengthen them all you will wind up with problems.

As someone who had to stop their 1st Camino due to leg problems I can't agree more with the advice to go slow the first several days, even 1st week, until your body gets used to this new 'endurance' test. There is no reason you 'have' to get to a certain town each night, there are plenty of places to stay, at least along the Camino Frances.

And, although its very much considered the 'start' of the CF, I'd suggest NOT starting in St Jean-Pier-de-Port as its a very very long, arduous first day's walk to Roncevalles and then a long downhill the next day. You'll be feeling tired and sore from this first day's stage for many days afterwards...

Hello, so you do you mean better to start a bit earlier, maybe Bordeaux/Biarritz-Bayonne for example and by the time you get to StJPdP you're a bit more conditioned or do you mean start somewhere else altogether and avoid that first difficult stage?
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Hello, so you do you mean better to start a bit earlier, maybe Bordeaux/Biarritz-Bayonne for example and by the time you get to StJPdP you're a bit more conditioned or do you mean start somewhere else altogether and avoid that first difficult stage?
Either of these could work. So could staying at Orisson on the first night. However, if you are reasonably prepared - meaning your body is accustomed to lots of walking and can comfortably walk 20+ km with your backpack), you will probably do fine. Just don't rush up the hill to Orisson, and do use walking poles on the downhill into Roncesvalles.

If you want, for that day, lighten your backpack by sending some things on to Roncesvalles by transport. In that case, I still recommend that you carry your regular good backpack for walking (as it is probably much better fitted than whatever day pack you might have) and put your sleeping bag and other things into a stuff sac to be transported.
 

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP: May/June 2015; English Route Nov 2015; Lycian Way Oct 2015; Coast to Coast Aug/Sep 2015; West Highland Way July 2015; Hadrians Wall June 2015; Westweg Jul/Aug 2015..... ..... .... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2020; A Coruna 2020... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2025... .. . SJPdP May/June 2030... .. . SJPdP May/June 2035... .. .
Hello, so you do you mean better to start a bit earlier, maybe Bordeaux/Biarritz-Bayonne for example and by the time you get to StJPdP you're a bit more conditioned or do you mean start somewhere else altogether and avoid that first difficult stage?
The tough part of the first day section for most people is the downhill into Roncesvalles. If you can go down a pretty steep hill in dirt/rock/grass for an hour comfortably then it won't be a concern. As mention a good way to get use to this is do hill walking in increments while you train. Really depends on fitness level and health of your legs and feet. Near everyone has some foot issue at some point on the Camino. After 6 days I had achilles pain and suffered probably 20 blisters along the way. Others had much worse than me... some were quite light and just got a blister or two.
 

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
The Spanish consider Roncesvalles the "start" of the Camino, and attending the mass in the ancient church, with a pilgrim blessing, is a great ritual to get you on your way. It's really not necessary to start in SJPDP, particularly if you have any doubts about that really arduous first day.
 

superleggera

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
I've also disappointedly learned in another thread that that the trail/pass through the mountains is closed in winter until April and the walk will be on the side of or along the albeit quiet main roads.

If that is the case, then combined with the fact that Roncesvalles and the Pilgrim's Mass is considered the start anyway I'm going to investigate starting from either Biarritz airport or Bayonne train station (I know it's possible to catch a train from up here in the more north western end of England at around 9-10am and get to Bayonne for around 6-7pm via Eurostar and TGV etc so that appeals very much more than flying) and walking along the coast and then dropping down to Roncesvalles.

My only concern on doing that is missing out on the other 'ritual' of going to the pilgrim's office and meeting all the other pilgrims in StJDPP on their first day too, a bit like the first day at school when we were kids where you often made your best friends for life :)
 

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP: May/June 2015; English Route Nov 2015; Lycian Way Oct 2015; Coast to Coast Aug/Sep 2015; West Highland Way July 2015; Hadrians Wall June 2015; Westweg Jul/Aug 2015..... ..... .... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2020; A Coruna 2020... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2025... .. . SJPdP May/June 2030... .. . SJPdP May/June 2035... .. .
I've also disappointedly learned in another thread that that the trail/pass through the mountains is closed in winter until April and the walk will be on the side of or along the albeit quiet main roads.

If that is the case, then combined with the fact that Roncesvalles and the Pilgrim's Mass is considered the start anyway I'm going to investigate starting from either Biarritz airport or Bayonne train station (I know it's possible to catch a train from up here in the more north western end of England at around 9-10am and get to Bayonne for around 6-7pm via Eurostar and TGV etc so that appeals very much more than flying) and walking along the coast and then dropping down to Roncesvalles.

My only concern on doing that is missing out on the other 'ritual' of going to the pilgrim's office and meeting all the other pilgrims in StJDPP on their first day too, a bit like the first day at school when we were kids where you often made your best friends for life :)
Well I did meet my best friend from the Camino on the first night in Orisson, however there was a group of about 20 of us who still chat today from all over the world and we didn't really have the group very solidified until the last week or so of the walk.
 

linda piso

Member
Camino(s) past & future
English (Summer 2016)
Portuguese (Fall 2017)
LOL...OK here is the best training I had:
An edited version to a "Santa is coming to town" song...
Why, because the thought of training while reading all these posts from experienced people a little voice kept saying "you can't do this, these are athletic people...stop dreaming...then Santa came on TV and I heard this song...Best training I had for the camino...I hum it now while I'm walking...LOL..

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking the way
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door
You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat
Put one foot in front of the other
If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand
Put one foot in front of the other
If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it's just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn
 

ellensfootprints

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
October 5 ,2016
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this site and I'm wondering how do you train to do the Camino? I've been hiking every Saturday and each week adding more time/miles, but listining to my body so that I don't over do it and get injuries.

Any suggestions? I'm planning on walking next year not sure if summer or early fall (probably).

Thanks,
Silvia
im a solo female , Over 60. i tested a few pairs of shoes an backpacks. i have a canyon where I started walking six months before. it had hills, sand, rocks ,asphalt. I tried to see how many hours a day I could walk an how far. first I started testing shoes, socks, blister prep. aftet three months I felt confident I could walk for six hours@ two miles an hour. then I filled up my backpack and did another few months lugging that up an down. it makes a big difference carrying 13 lbs .
Realize your walking over a country with alot of different terrain an weather! i did a few hundred miles when Tendinitis hit. ouch! had to fast forward by train an then take a few days off. i finished in Santiago with 350 miles. i plan to come back again this year. i had plenty of young and old around me who all had various injuries!
its not easy, but a very gratifying expierence!!
 

Scary

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk from Leon to Camino de Santiago in 2017 with a friend.
Hi , ive just returned , before i left i was walking 10-15km about once per week on the flat, if that and without my backpack, im 41, slim and small build but wouldnt call myself fit. I started slow , i refused to be dragged along at other peoples paces, i kept to my own and rested when i needed to.
I ended up walking 25km a day no problem, you adjust as you are there and with the adrenaline and distractions around it goes fast. I wouldnt worry.
 

Scott Fraser

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018
Le Puy - SJPdP 2019
Walk up hills with 15 kg on your back until it hurts. Rest. Repeat. Rest. Repeat.

After that the Camino will train you.
 

sojourners

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
For training, please try to go 'off-road' on trails as well as on pavement. And do hills as much as possible. There are so many different muscles that you use in your legs, ankles and feet for each kind of terrain that if you don't strengthen them all you will wind up with problems.

As someone who had to stop their 1st Camino due to leg problems I can't agree more with the advice to go slow the first several days, even 1st week, until your body gets used to this new 'endurance' test. There is no reason you 'have' to get to a certain town each night, there are plenty of places to stay, at least along the Camino Frances.

And, although its very much considered the 'start' of the CF, I'd suggest NOT starting in St Jean-Pier-de-Port as its a very very long, arduous first day's walk to Roncevalles and then a long downhill the next day. You'll be feeling tired and sore from this first day's stage for many days afterwards...
Excellent advice. I saw more injuries the first day out of St. Jean than any place else.
 

Anskram

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
The French Way ~ Future
I think this is an interesting and helpful subject.

I think the need for preparation/training depends on the route. With the Camino Frances the pilgrim infrastructure is developed therefore it is possible to walk shorter distances, take things easy, build up stamina and get your body used to it.

However even there I encountered people who had just looked up a packing list on the internet, packed a rusack and departed for Spain. IMHO this seriously increases the chances of encountering very real problems of blisters and pain which can take all pleasure out of a Camino even to the point of people becoming so disheartened they have to go home.

Before walking my first route which was the Va de la Plata I did a lot of preparation - regular little walks, building up to longer city walks using http://www.walkit.com then fully kitted 10 - 12 mile hikes before increasing these to longer rural walks. I had some discomfort at the beginning carrying a full pack but no blisters.

And so I set off. What I hadn't realised fully was that I had picked a route where often there was no alternative to walking 25 - 30 kms to the next bed whether an albergue or a hostal. Then there were those little directions in the guide book which in my innocence I hadn't realised had a real sting: " Turn left at the end of the road and walk in a straight line along the road for 16 kms " then turn right and walk over the mountain!

Within two - three days I had large and painful blisters. It was time for reflection.

As has been said, again and again, there is a huge difference between the kind of day walking or even two - three days walking I had done for a lot of my life and long distance walking for 6 - 10 hours every day for several weeks. Although I had read in this forum and elsewhere about the importance of keeping weight down the bottom line is I thought that I knew best. I was walking in Winter, the days were short - dark by 6 pm and so I took a little radio. I was walking in winter and so I did what I would have done in Scotland ...I took a flask ( lightweight!) and a supply of dried soup. Just in case! I took spare everything. Just in case.

I came to the painful realisation that despite my preparations all of my problems stemmed from the amount of weight I was carrying and like many pilgrims before me I ditched stuff, sent some on ahead and as I dressed my blisters in the evening began to think about what was essential....even small places have Farmacias, why did I have a first aid kit I in fact have never needed having walked a number of routes now? Why was I carrying that plastic bag of spare bits and pieces...clothes pegs, a ball of string rather than a length of string - scissors for heaven's sake!

Nowadays I am disappointed if I am tempted to pack any more than 7 kgs. But in saying that I know that I learned the lesson the hard way. I also know that over time you come to know what you are really going to need everyday and you begin to swap clothes for lighter versions, picking up things in sales and so on. My problem in the beginning was I read all of this advice but I never understood the vital importance of it.

Finally I think as well as choosing the route and concentrating on getting weight down it is important to think about the time of the year. If walking in winter the days will be short - the daylight hours can be cut to 8.30 - 6pm. So if it is best to walk slowly sometimes taking plenty of breaks pick a time of the year when you can do that.

Weight, weight, weight :)

John

Thank you for this. We are just starting to train. How much of the 7 kg's is water??
Thank you,
Andrea
 

Malachiuri

CaminoTranquilo
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Burgos '17
St Jean to Fisterra '18
St Jean to Fisterra '20
Portuguese '20
Norte '21
Prior to my 2017 Camino I assumed I was in great shape to walk the whole route. I was a semi avid runner with a few 10 mile and half marathons under my belt the previous year. I spent 2 months doing leisurely hikes with my pack, usually 6 to 8 miles a couple times a week.

I was wildly unprepared for the first 2 days out of St Jean. The 4.8 miles to Orrison was the hardest physical thing I have even accomplished. The second day was't much better...

Unfortunately due to family concerns at home, I left my friends in Burgos and they finished the Camino with some minor troubles.

This year I am going back with a much more aggressive training schedule. I am hiking 3 times a week with full pack. 3,10 mile hikes with a minimum of 1200ft elevation gain. Steep hills are a must for training, both going up and down. Feeling much, much, much more prepared.

I also have lost 45lbs, so you know, that's gotta help!

I leave on March 28th, with a planned crossing the mountains March 31st.
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
All sounds far too complicated to me. For all of my Caminos I have just travelled to the start and walked - beforehand its just been my normal dog walks and golf 3 times a week! Just don’t try to do too much for the first week or so, then your body and feet can get used to the changes. You can always get rid of stuff that is too heavy or buy stuff if you have forgotten anything, they do have shops in Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
The French way September “2019”
I personally think that the need to train for a long period prior to starting is greatly overrated. It may, if fact, do more harm than good since you will putting a lot of "wear" on your joints. I found on my two caminos that by starting slowly for the first few days I worked myself into condition. The important thing is to be sure that your footwear is comfortable and that your pack fits properly.
I like this advice!! Can’t see how I can walk for hours in my normal daily schedule.
 

Malachiuri

CaminoTranquilo
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Burgos '17
St Jean to Fisterra '18
St Jean to Fisterra '20
Portuguese '20
Norte '21
Keep in mind that training for the Camino isn't just about physical conditioning, it is about getting your whole person prepared for the experience.

You may be in terrific shape and not prone to injury, but unless you are an avid long distance hiker, how do you truly know? My first camino in 2017 was a damn nightmare and I was in superb shape and ran multiple half marathons prior to leaving for France. I knew the first day I was badly prepared. My gear, my footwear and mental state were not up for the Camino. I went home at Burgos very embarrassed.

In 2018 I took more time to train into the trek. Worked out shoe/boot issues, gear selection and nutrition. My experience was superb! Walked 540 miles with no blisters, no knee strain, no worries. A life changing time.

It is also really important to know your gear implicitly and trust it completely. Untill you hike for a few hours in driving rain, or better yet get caught in a sudden storm where you need to quickly don your rain gear, do you really know your kit? The comfort in that just can't be understated.

So, if you are in good shape, consider training for the Camino to be how you shake down your equipment, work out packing bugs and get mentally flexible enough to enjoy the Way for what it is. Amazing!
 

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