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Judging Fitness Level

HJD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan (2018)
#1
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
 

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Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#2
This is on flatland.
Time to shift to hills/mountains/stadium stairs.

...when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready.
Why? I averaged 15 km (do the math) in 6 hours walking for years. If you feel that 15 mi/4 hrs pace is mandatory, you have the wrong impression. If you think it will give you bragging rights, ok, but there are many threads on this forum regarding the topic "a pilgrimage is not a race".

I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
Personally, I am puzzled by this statement. It is one thing to want to get in decent shape to minimize the pain; it is quite another entirely to desire a pain-free pilgrimage. (I realize it's a concept that works for some people.)

Sounds to me like to are ready now - especially once you add in a bit of hill climbing work.

Bon chemin!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#3
Why would you want to be able to walk 15 miles in 4 hours. Walk at your normal rythm. 3km a hour is just fine. You are aiming for double that. Deep breath, it will be ok, except for the pain in your feet because of the uneven terrain, and there is no training for that.
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#4
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
I don't think that you need to walk at that pace with a fully loaded backpack. A 3 mph pace is probably more reasonable. And when you are on the Camino you won't be walking 15 miles straight through. I would usually walk between 3 to 5 miles when I started out, then stop for breakfast. Then I'd walk another couple of hours and take another break for a snack or lunch. I would also take off my shoes and socks to allow my feet to air out and breathe, which I feel is key for blister prevention.
When I did my training I focused on walking long distances on consecutive days, and only walked with my backpack a few times. And I took a break during those walks, just as I would on the Camino. I'm lucky that I live in a hilly area, so it was easy to incorporate hills into my training.
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#6
I agree with the comments above. Congratulations on improving your fitness in general but the challenges and standards you are setting yourself now are far beyond the level of preparedness you would actually need to walk the Camino Frances without undue trouble. It is a series of mostly straightforward day walks over easy ground with three or four more strenuous days in hilly areas. Far more of a mental challenge than a physical one.
 

John Finn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2013), Burgos to Leon (2014), St Jean Pied de Port to Logrono (2015), Logrono to Burgos (2016), Leon to Sarria (May 2017).
#7
... I don't think I'm ready yet ...
Yes you are , and readier by far than most of those setting out on the Camino. Relax, and to quote a Camino veteran I know, "don't do the Camino before you do the Camino!"

A certain amount of physical training is necessary to build up stamina and to check if there are any incipient problems that could cause you to give up two or three days into the walk. I met a middle-aged couple in that situation last year - they had done no training and had to drop out after three days due to chronic foot pain.

You are clearly fit and able. But to quote a tired old Camino platitude - "it's not a race". Walk at an easy pace. Stop often to look around you and appreciate the countryside.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15 & 16 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo (Sept.)
#8
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
With the work out program you have done, you are probably fitter than most that start their pilgrimage. I also do light weights as part of my training and believe it is essential as it is not all about how fit your legs are. Take trekking poles if you don't already have them. They are tremendously useful ascending, descending hills and for navigating muddy portions of the trail. I use mine almost 100% of the time even on the flat portions as it helps to develop a nice smooth rhythm to walk.
As others have stated, make changes to your attire as you walk during the day. There is a certain momentum to walking and sometimes you tend to keep going rather than making small adjustments to clothing that would increase your comfort.
If any thing feels off, particularly your feet and stop right away and deal with it. I often found I needed to retighten my laces 20 to 30 minutes after starting each day to make sure my shoes were optimal.
Getting your shoes and socks off at least once a day is wise as is changing out your socks if your feet are at all sweaty. If you do develop a hot spot on your foot, slap a Compeed style bandage on it before you develop a blister. Blisters are much harder to manage.
Make sure you take breaks and get your back pack off once an hour or so and stretch a bit.
But most importantly, always be in the moment and soak it all in. Don't be thinking of the next village or your destination for the day, just focus on your current surroundings and enjoy it!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#9
You will do fine. Only a Camino trains you for a Camino, and that is not going to happen for most of us. The pilgrims who have trouble are the ones who have never walked 20 km with a pack before they hit the trail. I estimate that half of them have real trouble. You should expect low power days. I found that continuous snacking and water kept my blood chemistry in balance. Avoid dieting.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#10
The pilgrims who have trouble are the ones who have never walked 20 km with a pack before they hit the trail.
Not true, sorry. I never walked even 500 meters with a backpack before a Camino, nor in between Caminos, and never will.

What got me in trouble, Plantar Fasciitis, would not have been helped by doing so. What would have helped is visiting my podiatrist a few months before each outing and adjustong my orthotics if need be.

What gets people in trouble is pushing themselves too much, what ever that is for them: heavy back pack, longer days than they should have walked, a faster pace than they should have walked, all for them, and not knowing their feet have failed them.
 

John Finn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2013), Burgos to Leon (2014), St Jean Pied de Port to Logrono (2015), Logrono to Burgos (2016), Leon to Sarria (May 2017).
#11
... I never walked even 500 meters with a backpack before a Camino, nor in between Caminos, and never will ...
Nor me! And I've never had any problems when carrying my backpack on the Camino. In fact, it was probably easier walking with the backpack. I can see the wisdom of getting used to one before arriving in Spain but I chose not to act on it. Why? For fear of looking totally ridiculous tramping along my usual walking routes with a big pack on my back. If you've a thicker skin than me, go for it!
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
#12
You are physically ready now IMHO.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés Sept. 2017
Camino Portugués Apr-May 2019
#16
I don't think that you need to walk at that pace with a fully loaded backpack. A 3 mph pace is probably more reasonable. And when you are on the Camino you won't be walking 15 miles straight through. I would usually walk between 3 to 5 miles when I started out, then stop for breakfast. Then I'd walk another couple of hours and take another break for a snack or lunch. I would also take off my shoes and socks to allow my feet to air out and breathe, which I feel is key for blister prevention.
When I did my training I focused on walking long distances on consecutive days, and only walked with my backpack a few times. And I took a break during those walks, just as I would on the Camino. I'm lucky that I live in a hilly area, so it was easy to incorporate hills into my training.
Hi Trecile:
A few burning questions for you:
How far were your long distances?
What do you mean by a few times?
How long before you left did you start training?
I have been wondering because I have been walking 5 miles a day for quite a few years. I know that is a far cry from an average of three times that distance with a pack on my back. I am starting my Camino in mid September. I have recently started walking a little longer each day and have incorporated a some hills (the few that there are around here). It makes sense to me to start 2-3 months before I leave, BUT it is going to be too hot where I live to walk long distances with the pack at that time. I am pretty sure it's not going to be 90++ degrees on the Camino in Sept. So I guess my question is...will it help or not to walk longer distances with & without the pack so far in advance?
Thank you!
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
#17
I put off going for a long time because I 'wasn't ready" ... in the end I just decided to rock up and see what happened ....

Not recommending it BUT I did NO training due to work /family time constraints ..

Age 60 , no training , just rocked up to St Jean and started walking ..... slow short days the first week then longer days at steady pace .....

Packed light carried pack the whole way mostly because it felt like an appendage and became my "friend" :rolleyes: ...... I couldn't dream of sending it on and walking off without it

Took it slow and listened to my body .. made love to my feet each night .... had a few deep and meaningful conversations with them as well :cool:....... people much younger than me got injuries and from what I could see was from going long distances, too fast with heavy packs ....

You can be given all the advice in the world , all the instructions, all the warnings....... BUT in the end one just has to rock up to an adventure , use common sense and learn by being observant....

Ultreia
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
#18
. . . I have been wondering because I have been walking 5 miles a day for quite a few years.
Charlotte, I trained for about a year before my first camino. 5 miles a day on flat ground or treadmill and no backpack. My first day on the camino with my 10lb pack it took me only 1:45 to get to Orrison and I was talking to everyone! Distance was no problem and hills did not slow me down ( I credit most of that to the use of hiking poles.) That was at 59 years old 135 lbs and 5'8"tall. YMMV. (Your mileage may vary)

I think that if you are used to walking 5 miles a day then you are ready.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#19
I have seen a number of weirdos in townwalking withpoles and a back pack. It only recently dawned on me they may be "practicing" for the Camino.
I have discovered a few new Camino walkers by simply asking "are you training" The majority are getting ready for local mountains but 3 have said Camino de Santiago. A few have been homeless & just passing thru, but regardless it is interesting to talk to each person. Just as it can be on the Camino.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#20
BUT it is going to be too hot where I live to walk long distances with the pack at that time.
You could weigh down your pack with say five 2 liter soda bottles full of water and other gear to get the weight right. Then you have plenty to drink and if the pack weight bothers you can give some flowers a drink (or with 10 liters maybe a whole lawn. :) )
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
#21
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
HJD, it's enough. I trained assiduously for my first one at age 59, and I live in the mountains. Despite that, the first 5K up the Napoleon were still tough, and every serious hill after that was more or less a struggle. I'm just a slow hillwalker. I beat myself up a bit early on when those who were younger and more fit passed me on hills (such as on the way up the Alto de Perdon), but that competitive sense got easier to let go of with practice. I continued to be slow on uphills, but by about 10 days in felt very strong. Just be sure be up on footcare and attend to your feet immediately if you sense the slightest hint of a problem. I found hiker's wool in front of my toes on the days of hard downhills helpful (the latter half of the day Roncesvalles to Zubiri, down from the Alto de Perdon, and down from the Cruz de Ferro).
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#22
A few burning questions for you:
How far were your long distances?
10 to 15 miles. I wanted to make sure that my shoe/sock combination would work walking those kinds of distances on consecutive days, so one week I walked 10 miles every day. I was normally walking about 5 miles a day. One day I walked 15 miles with my pack to see how that felt.

What do you mean by a few times?
Only three or four times with my pack, and only fully loaded once.
The Camino was my very first backpacking experience, and I really had no problem with it.

How long before you left did you start training?
I started "training" around May, and I left August 18th. I live in a hilly area, so I have lots of opportunity to practice on hills, but the days that I just went for distance I walked on a local bike path that is fairly flat. My daily walk takes me down and up a fairly steep hill.

I am pretty sure it's not going to be 90++ degrees on the Camino in Sept.
At the end of August I had quite a few days in the mid nineties, and some pretty warm days in September too. I really hate being sweaty, but got used to it, and it made me appreciate the shower at the end of the day much more!

Packed light carried pack the whole way mostly because it felt like an appendage and became my "friend" :rolleyes: ...... I couldn't dream of sending it on and walking off without it
I know what you mean. It really becomes part of you!
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
#23
I have seen a number of weirdos in townwalking withpoles and a back pack. It only recently dawned on me they may be "practicing" for the Camino.
In training for our second Camino, my husband and I wear our packs around San Francisco. We have discovered that nothing makes one more approachable (and unapproachable) as wearing a backpack through the city. Yesterday we had several encounters with people who were really friendly. Apparently, when one puts a backpack on people (the people who are not avoiding eye contact because they think you might ask for spare change or are a "weirdo" :)) want to talk to you and not about backpacking. People asked about how long we have been married or commented on us holding hands - stuff like that. One guy, after we had been in a brief conversion with him and his friend about the gorgeous weather and a longer one about why his life was not going so well, offered us a cigarette (which we declined) like we were old buddies hanging out on the street corner. That normally doesn't happen to my backpackless 56 year old woman standing on the corner self. Yesterday's training walk and its many impromptu conversations were reminiscent of being on the Camino; it made me realize that the seemingly unique flow of kindness and humanity that one experiences on the Camino is all around us, and if one wants to find it, all one has to do is put a fully loaded backpack on and walk out the front door. That was my long way of saying train with pack. :)
 

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trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#24
The only times I trained with my backpack were on hiking trails, or the bike path, where all the other weirdos hang out. :rolleyes:
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
#26
In training for our second Camino, my husband and I wear our packs around San Francisco. We have discovered that nothing makes one more approachable (and unapproachable) as wearing a backpack through the city. Yesterday we had several encounters with people who were really friendly. Apparently, when one puts a backpack on people (the people who are not avoiding eye contact because they think you might ask for spare change or are a "weirdo" :)) want to talk to you and not about backpacking. People asked about how long we have been married or commented on us holding hands - stuff like that. One guy, after we had been in a brief conversion with him and his friend about the gorgeous weather and a longer one about why his life was not going so well, offered us a cigarette (which we declined) like we were old buddies hanging out on the street corner. That normally doesn't happen to my backpackless 56 year old woman standing on the corner self. Yesterday's training walk and its many impromptu conversations were reminiscent of being on the Camino; it made me realize that the seemingly unique flow of kindness and humanity that one experiences on the Camino is all around us, and if one wants to find it, all one has to do is put a fully loaded backpack on and walk out the front door. That was my long way of saying train with pack. :)
The photo reminds me of my grandmother's house on Mullen Street.

Mike
 

Gillean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven
#27
These are my opinions based on experience only. Not backed up with scientific study, etc. Can you walk 2 days back to back, 20 to 25 km per day, with your intended pack weight and finish sore and tired but okay and with sound feet? Time is not particularly relevant. In fact a 10+ min break each 1 to 2 hours with shoes and socks off would probably be good. If you can do that you should not have any major physical problems on the camino. In my observation a good average and solid walking pace on the camino would be about 4 km per hour (2.5 miles per hour). Your mileage, as they say, may vary. Your pace (16 min miles) is about 6 km per hour. 4 km per hour pace is about 24 min miles. A very significant difference. You may want to consider upping your pack weight and slowing your pace. Weight training is excellent for general fitness but there used to be a saying in my youth that nothing will prepare you for uphill walking like uphill walking and it will prepare you for everything else. An exaggeration with a kernel of truth. Also note that at about 2 weeks into a camino the cumulative effect of long days of pounding on hard surfaces over long distances with significant pack weight often leads to repetitive stress type injuries which are exacerbated by excessively fast walking. This is the country of joint pain in the knees, hips and ankles, swollen and inflamed muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Don't go there if you can avoid it. I have heard it said that older walkers, for the simple reason that they can't do the high speed, high impact walking have less trouble in some ways than younger ones who push themselves too hard. Hope that helps.
 

frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
#28
I never use a pack heavier than a day pack between caminos. Just doing walks and day hiking of 3-10 miles a couple times a week seems to be enough. I've done a Camino each of the past 3 years, planning the Arles this May. I'm 63.
 

Gillean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven
#29
I never use a pack heavier than a day pack between caminos. Just doing walks and day hiking of 3-10 miles a couple times a week seems to be enough. I've done a Camino each of the past 3 years, planning the Arles this May. I'm 63.
When you do a long multi-day walk successfully my theory is that you build residual strength in bones, ligaments, and tendons that stays with you. After that you don't really need much stimulus to get ready for the next "big one." But I would contend that you won't really be prepared for your first major walk by doing 3-10 mile walks twice a week with a light day pack for a few weeks before. When the big walk comes your body will be shocked by the stresses you put on it. And not necessarily in a good way. As an example I used to participate in training for the Nijmegen Vierdaagse walk in the Netherlands (40 km per day for 4 days back to back with a 10kg pack plus consumables, food and liquids) and it was considered necessary to walk 800 to 1000 km in the pre-season culminating in two 40 km days back to back with full gear to prepare for the walk . But I talked to many Dutch military walkers who told me that after completing one or two walks they really didn't need to do too much preparation for the next one. Their bodies seemed to remember how to cope. Anyway, my two bits worth. P.S. Hope you enjoy the Arles route. Haven't walked that one yet and would love to hear how you enjoyed it.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#30
Hello @HJD
Well done, you! I so wish I'd done exactly what you are doing for my camino and for my second which starts in less than two weeks. Fantastic preparation. I bet you are also giving equal attention to packing light and have footwear that suits you? I bet you will be fine. Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances & Finisterre (Sep-Oct 2016)
#31
nothing will prepare you for uphill walking like uphill walking
And NOTHING will prepare you for steep downhill walking like walking down steep hills.
I saw more people in trouble walking down steep hills than up.
In actual fact there are lots of exercises you can do for strengthening the knees to handle downhill sections (I found lots of walking did the best).
But, unless you practice (just a little), you may not realise that your shoes are too small and you'll end up with blisters on the ends of your toes and/or lose a few toenails.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#32
I saw more people in trouble walking down steep hills than up.
I agree. People who are new to off-road walking often get a sort of tunnel vision and focus all their attention and worries on the business of getting up steep hills. Understandable - it is counter-intuitive to worry about getting down the other side. Surely that must be easy - just let gravity do the hard work? In reality I find it a far more challenging business: much easier to injure toes or lose my footing. I also find that a trip or fall when going downhill is far more difficult to control and much more likely to result in injury.
 

AbbyDee

Court Jester
Camino(s) past & future
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of my 25th year, I will begin my Camino in September 2017
#33
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
From all the accounts that I have read, there is always a certain amount of suffering the first few days. Now that said, the worst suffering seems to be from the accounts of those who have not prepared at all, and those who have at least some preparation will suffer less. From what I can see, you are on the right track. Though, I would try to incorporate some hilly walks into you routine

Buen Camino!
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#34
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.

HJD:

My opinion would be that you are in better walking condition than most who walk their first Camino. I, for one, did not prepare at all for my first Camino and had a 24 lb/11 kg pack.

That said, walking at home and walking a Camino are 2 very different events. I would suggest you just find your own pace and walk in that range. I still believe, almost anyone, can walk the Camino.

Start slowly, pack as light as possible and let the Camino be your guide.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

AbbyDee

Court Jester
Camino(s) past & future
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of my 25th year, I will begin my Camino in September 2017
#35
I agree. People who are new to off-road walking often get a sort of tunnel vision and focus all their attention and worries on the business of getting up steep hills. Understandable - it is counter-intuitive to worry about getting down the other side. Surely that must be easy - just let gravity do the hard work? In reality I find it a far more challenging business: much easier to injure toes or lose my footing. I also find that a trip or fall when going downhill is far more difficult to control and much more likely to result in injury.

That is exactly why trekking poles are my friends. :) I am not as nimble as I used to be. (or maybe ever was) and those poles have proven invaluable to me.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#36
Hi Trecile:
A few burning questions for you:
How far were your long distances?
What do you mean by a few times?
How long before you left did you start training?
I have been wondering because I have been walking 5 miles a day for quite a few years. I know that is a far cry from an average of three times that distance with a pack on my back. I am starting my Camino in mid September. I have recently started walking a little longer each day and have incorporated a some hills (the few that there are around here). It makes sense to me to start 2-3 months before I leave, BUT it is going to be too hot where I live to walk long distances with the pack at that time. I am pretty sure it's not going to be 90++ degrees on the Camino in Sept. So I guess my question is...will it help or not to walk longer distances with & without the pack so far in advance?
Thank you!
Hi, we are in Phx. Already too hot to walk with a pack in the afternoons. I will be joining a gym just to have a place to walk. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés Sept. 2017
Camino Portugués Apr-May 2019
#37
Hi, we are in Phx. Already too hot to walk with a pack in the afternoons. I will be joining a gym just to have a place to walk. :)
Yes it is!! Fortunately I am an early riser so I am usually done by 8 or 8:30 and it is still cool enough. I plan to do as much as I can before it starts to get too hot early in the am. I did think about the gym too...might be a good option! I expect to get some interesting looks if I go in with the pack but certainly preferable to heatstroke. When are you planning to do the Camino? I leave Sept. 14.
 

Gillean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven
#38
And NOTHING will prepare you for steep downhill walking like walking down steep hills.
I saw more people in trouble walking down steep hills than up.
In actual fact there are lots of exercises you can do for strengthening the knees to handle downhill sections (I found lots of walking did the best).
But, unless you practice (just a little), you may not realise that your shoes are too small and you'll end up with blisters on the ends of your toes and/or lose a few toenails.
I do agree that downhill walking can be brutal and a huge source of repetitive stress problems. But I'm pretty sold on uphill walking even for training for that. I think it will do a lot to prepare you for downhills in terms of strengthening and toughening the legs. Agree that slightly larger shoes, some walking sticks and the willingness to go a bit slower can help in addition to strengthening exercises (aka uphill walking :) ). We have a great training area here in Vancouver called the Grouse Grind which is about 2800 feet (853 m) of steady uphill with the opportunity to take a gondola down. Takes between 30 minutes to 2 hrs+ and is superb training. Unfortunately it doesn't open until after the snows are almost gone which is too late for prepping for a spring camino but would work out well for a summer or autumn one. https://www.grousemountain.com/grousegrind. Expect there are similar opportunities anywhere that has some good hills. Doing hill work once a week would be great preparation, as always, in my humble opinion.
 

AbbyDee

Court Jester
Camino(s) past & future
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of my 25th year, I will begin my Camino in September 2017
#39
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
Further to a comment I made "back up the line" and in agreement with another response: A lot has been said about uphill and very little about down. Now as you can see, my first camino will be this year in celebration of "the 35th anniversary of my 25th year" and I am not nearly as nimble as I used to be. Now, I live in a rural area, and that is where I train, also. The benefits of this are uphills, down hills and varying terrains. When I first began my training, I saw the need for a pair trekking poles because going downhill when the ground is rough - they saved me from a couple of nasty tumbles along the way.
 

frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
#40
For those in hot climates: Did you know that exercising in heat can actually build your endurance? You need to be sure to get enough liquids, modify your exercise and take common sense precautions, but there's no reason you need to give up outside walking and hiking. In fact, you will actually benefit if you do it sensibly. I have done this by walking outside when it's over 95F, and I do notice that I tire more quickly, go slower, and can't go as long. But to some degree, your body adapts.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#42
Yes it is!! Fortunately I am an early riser so I am usually done by 8 or 8:30 and it is still cool enough. I plan to do as much as I can before it starts to get too hot early in the am. I did think about the gym too...might be a good option! I expect to get some interesting looks if I go in with the pack but certainly preferable to heatstroke. When are you planning to do the Camino? I leave Sept. 14.
Our target date is sometime around Sept 1st. Depending on airfare and either Paris or Barcelona to fly into.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#43
For those in hot climates: Did you know that exercising in heat can actually build your endurance? You need to be sure to get enough liquids, modify your exercise and take common sense precautions, but there's no reason you need to give up outside walking and hiking. In fact, you will actually benefit if you do it sensibly. I have done this by walking outside when it's over 95F, and I do notice that I tire more quickly, go slower, and can't go as long. But to some degree, your body adapts.
Summer temps reach 120F here in the summer. We have night time lows in the 90s. No can walk in that heat.
It was 95 today. Welcome to springtime.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés Sept. 2017
Camino Portugués Apr-May 2019
#44
Our target date is sometime around Sept 1st. Depending on airfare and either Paris or Barcelona to fly into.
Have you considered flying into Madrid? I found airfare from PHX less than either Barcelona or Paris. (Sorry--off topic)
 

Oravasaari

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Fistera (2015), Leon to Fistera (2016), CF, Salvadore, Primitivo (2017), CF run/walk 2018
#45
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
That sounds like excellent prep. I would not worry too much about speed, rather endurance.

I overtrained for my first SJPdP to Finisterre May 2015, doing nearly 400 km in 30km circuits, hill work as well as back to back days to test out my endurance in the 6 weeks before departure. I got blisters in training and aches and pains. The camino was a straight forward affair after that. No blisters, no aches, nothing.

I only trained for 200km (Leon - Finisterre Sept 2016) and again had adequate fitness. No issues.

Will be pushing it a bit next week having trained for only 130km in last 3 weeks (Camino de Madrid from 27 March).

I've realised that once I get to the stage that my legs don't ache the next morning after a 30km walk and no hot spots or blisters then I have minimum fitness to at least start a camino. Better fitness comes through starting steadily on the camino and listening to your body. These may be famous last words however...we will see!
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#46
I'm 65 and preparing for my first Camino. I've worked out 'religiously' for the past 6 months and have made good progress. Doing mostly weight training for leg and torso strength and muscle endurance with occasional brisk walks. Six months ago I could walk 3 miles at a 16 min/mile pace. Now I can do 10 miles. This is on flatland. I don't think I'm ready yet, but when I can easily do 15 miles in 4 hours with 15 lbs (7 kg) on my back I think I'll feel ready. Does that sound about right to you experience folks? I want to experience most of the pain before the trip.
I have the same philosophy - I want to train my body now, and get the pain out of the way!

Fifteen miles in four hours w/pack, though, sounds much too fast. I don't know if increasing speed will help you train the right muscles. Hills, on the other hand ... it's time work hills into your routine! I did back-to-back uphill walks this weekend, and let me tell you, even though I work out at the gym and bike a lot, that climb hit a whole new set of muscles for me.

The first day my pace was 4 km (2.5 miles) / hour, and the second day it was much slower at 3 km (1.8 miles) / hour - but with a 400 meter ascent. I really can't imagine hills at a much faster pace ... and I think we'll be looking at lots of hills on the Camino.
 

stevelm1

Recovering Perigrino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sep-Oct 2015, I plan to walk the Camino Portuguese in Sep 2018.
#47
I trained a lot for the Camino Frances (my first Camino). I walked over 700 miles in my boots and with my loaded pack. I knew I was ready for the trail when I walked 12 miles six days in a row. My plan was to walk 20 K per day and this test proved I could do it.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#48
I trained a lot for the Camino Frances (my first Camino). I walked over 700 miles in my boots and with my loaded pack. I knew I was ready for the trail when I walked 12 miles six days in a row. My plan was to walk 20 K per day and this test proved I could do it.
After 700 miles in those boots while training, did you have to buy another for the actual Camino?
 

stevelm1

Recovering Perigrino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sep-Oct 2015, I plan to walk the Camino Portuguese in Sep 2018.
#49
Right before I left I discovered that my heals were worn to the threads. Fortunately I was able to get new heals attached. Lesson here, watch the soles and heals of your shoes to make sure they are not down to the threads as you start a 500 mile walk.
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18)
#50
I do agree that downhill walking can be brutal and a huge source of repetitive stress problems. But I'm pretty sold on uphill walking even for training for that. I think it will do a lot to prepare you for downhills in terms of strengthening and toughening the legs. Agree that slightly larger shoes, some walking sticks and the willingness to go a bit slower can help in addition to strengthening exercises (aka uphill walking :) ). We have a great training area here in Vancouver called the Grouse Grind which is about 2800 feet (853 m) of steady uphill with the opportunity to take a gondola down. Takes between 30 minutes to 2 hrs+ and is superb training. Unfortunately it doesn't open until after the snows are almost gone which is too late for prepping for a spring camino but would work out well for a summer or autumn one. https://www.grousemountain.com/grousegrind. Expect there are similar opportunities anywhere that has some good hills. Doing hill work once a week would be great preparation, as always, in my humble opinion.
I like your post Gillean, but I would caution local pilgrims that the Grind is NOT the standard to judge your readiness for a Camino. As you know, there is nothing on the Camino with the same sustained intensity as the Grind, and for people who are not very fit, its a bad place to start training. When I had brown hair I could do it in 45 minutes. These days, I am not even sure I would attempt it, but I can still walk the Camino with comfort. All that said, the Grind is a great place to build up your cardio!
 

HJD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan (2018)
#51
All, Thanks to everyone who commented on this thread. Especially all who think I'm ready now. Very comforting - but I'll continue working and get in better shape anyway. I'm still months away from the trip. I'll admit that I'm probably overdoing the workout bit. A aprt of my motivation for doing the trip si to get in shape. For all those who worry that I will walk the Camino too fast, have no fear - I intend to walk the Camino slowly and savor it. I'm walking fast largely to get the workouts done more quickly and also cause I hope that 15 miles briskly on flat ground will roughly mimic 15 miles slowly in the hills.
 
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP to Finisterre 2009
Le Puy to SJPDP 2013
Frances 2014
#52
I never use a pack heavier than a day pack between caminos. Just doing walks and day hiking of 3-10 miles a couple times a week seems to be enough. I've done a Camino each of the past 3 years, planning the Arles this May. I'm 63.
Hi Frida, my brother and I are beginning the Arles Camino approx 17 - 18th May, buen Camino, we may cross paths
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August 2016
#53
A certain degree of training as a means of physical preparation is certainly better than none at all.

As someone who rarely walked or exercised previously, I managed five days worth of 15-20km walks in a flat park in London before I left. Going like that from 0 kms to 20 km, my legs began to cramp and I could barely move after that second day in London. By the fourth day I was fine so I definitely think those five days had some value.

I still struggled majorly on that first day's climbing out of St Jean and considered stopping more than once. But I then met the first members of what turned out to be my Camino family. Between us we made it to Orisson, then to the highest point of that day's walk, on to Roncesvalles and weeks later to Santiago.

And that is the magic of the Camino. No physical preparation could have helped me as much as those pilgrims did. I believe at some point the Camino stops been a physical test, and becomes a mental one. Fitness levels become secondary to motivational levels.

By the middle of the second week, most people build up their fitness levels naturally just by walking each day. But that in itself is no guarantee of making it as far as Santiago when the road signs still show you have 464 kms to go. Somewhere along the way, the Camino transcends the walking between A and B. Getting up early and walking in the dark, or through the mesata heat becomes easier if you are doing it with someone you've had that heart to heart conversation with the night before. It becomes easier when you are rewarded with that chance encounter with someone you met back in Zubiri and the opportunity to now catch up. Easier when you turn that corner and see a field of sun flowers or golden hay off in the horizon. Easier after a shared picnic lunch in the shade of those trees overhanging the gentle river. Easier after a private moment of reflection in a random church you've decided to visit along the way. Easier after yet another magical Camino sunrise or sunset. Easier to keep going when you see that pilgrim ahead who you know has bad blisters is able to keep going too.

It is impossible to replicate the conditions or demands of the Camino in our home environments. Equally impossible however to experience in advance its magical moments, its little surprises or its rewards.

All forms of pre-Camino planning, be it physical or logistical has a certain amount of merit, but I wouldn't be a slave to it. 'The Camino will provide' became a well-worn slogan on our walk, and not without good reason.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#54
I agree with those that bemoan the downhills, they are much worse on the knees than the uphills. I would never take a step on any camino without two poles whether I'm going up, down, or flat, because the repetitive stress on the joints is brutal, and the poles take some of the weight off the knees and other joints.

I'd venture to say that most of the camino walking injuries I've seen, though, have to do with something much more banal -- the asphalt. As the Camino is more and more paved over to tolerate the hundreds of thousands of footsteps that go by every year, there is more and more opportunity for tendonitis and other repetitive stress injuries. I have seen many pilgrims who are far fitter than I (many of them long distance through hikers) who got it bad. They are the folks who can walk tremendous distances easily, but forget that their experience is on unpaved, uneven dirt or rocky trails, where the stress is far far less on the skeletal and muscular structure. So, be careful of things like shin splints.

I know this is another one of my soap boxes, but I always carry a plastic bag so that I can get a bag of ice to soothe my tendons when I'm relaxing in a café. I also soak my feet in any stream or river I come across. And I obsessively hunt for the unpaved dirt path that is frequently worn into the ground on the side of the pavement. In some ways it is easier to walk on pavement, but in so many more ways it is a big cause of big injuries.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
#55
For a challenge, I suggest walking 6-8 hours daily for 3 consecutive days. If you are working, you might need to plan this for the next holiday weekend. How are you going to feel on the third day of walking?

-Paul
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#56
For a challenge, I suggest walking 6-8 hours daily for 3 consecutive days. If you are working, you might need to plan this for the next holiday weekend. How are you going to feel on the third day of walking?

-Paul
If you are aiming to mimic walking on the Camino, stop every couple of hours and have a coffee, a snack, lunch, etc. Take off your shoes and air out your feet. Include the time that you are resting in the 6-8 hours. Please don't feel like you need to be able to walk continuously for 6 to 8 hours, because that's not what you will be doing on the Camino.
 

Gillean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven
#57
I like your post Gillean, but I would caution local pilgrims that the Grind is NOT the standard to judge your readiness for a Camino. As you know, there is nothing on the Camino with the same sustained intensity as the Grind, and for people who are not very fit, its a bad place to start training. When I had brown hair I could do it in 45 minutes. These days, I am not even sure I would attempt it, but I can still walk the Camino with comfort. All that said, the Grind is a great place to build up your cardio!
45 minutes - Wow! Well done! I don't think I ever cracked the hour mark maybe not even the hour and ten minute mark, even in my long, long gone brown-haired days. I agree, the Grind is far more extreme than anything you would need to do to prepare for the camino but something less intense but of the same flavour once a week combined with longer walks on more moderate surfaces done for a month or two prior to the camino would be good physical prep for a first-time peregrino. And I believe the uphill component is very important. Okay, no more beating a dead horse!
 
#58
It's good to get physicaly fit, but I think it's equaly important to be mentaly fit, to get up every morning, put your boots on and heave your pack on your back and start off another days walking, maybe with a few injuries, takes a lot of mental fortitude! But, as in most things in life, nothing worth anything comes easy! Physicaly, you're ready, just listen to your body, mentaly, only doing it will you find out and you cant train for that ! Buen camino
 

Doodle99

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago (?)
#59
Why would you want to be able to walk 15 miles in 4 hours. Walk at your normal rythm. 3km a hour is just fine. You are aiming for double that. Deep breath, it will be ok, except for the pain in your feet because of the uneven terrain, and there is no training for that.
Actually there is training for uneven terrain .... I live up the mountain in Costa Rica.... no even terrain up here!
 

marbuck

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Condom to Pamplona April 2016.
Le Puy to Condom France - April-May 2015.
Roncesvalles to Santiago April - May 2014
Finisterre to Muxia May 2014
#61
The best advice is to be as fit as you can be, you will enjoy your Camino more.
 
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