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Need basic fitness advice for the unfit and (relatively) old newbie

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
Hello, all. My husband and I are both 64, in relative good health, are complete tenderfoots, have never done any serious walking or hiking in our lives ... and yet we both greatly desire to walk the Camino next year in April and May.

We've been in Managua, Nicaragua, for the past 3 months and will go back to Baltimore MD in two weeks. To give you an idea of our level of (un)fitness, we walk nearly every day in 85-95-degree F (30-35C) heat about 3-4 kms to get groceries and go to restaurants. No problems (no packs either). We tested ourselves last week by walking uphill on the main road out of Managua (a mild incline) just to see how far we could go (no packs, just us). We got about 5 kms before flagging down a taxi to take us back to our hotel. Took a day or two to recover from that exertion. So you can see we have some work cut out for us before April 2017.

Between us, we have a variety of ailments that have the potential to become serious if we're not careful -- asthma, moderate obesity (I had bariatric surgery last year and have lost 110 pounds (50Kg) with another 50 (22Kg) to go; my husband needs to lose about 60 pounds (27Kg), coronary heart stents, mild sleep apnea (both of us use CPAPs). We both have prescription maintenance medications that must be taken daily.

My question is this: With a whole year to prepare for the Camino, where, when and how should we begin to get in shape? We're thinking of starting with weight training at a gym, swimming and walking to strengthen heart and lungs, buying backpacks (and weighting them) and hiking boots and driving to the nearby Appalachians to do some weekend hikes. Does this sound like a good plan?

At the risk of being labeled "turigrinos," we're also considering skipping the Pyrenees and starting in Roncesvalles, having our packs transported, staying in private accommodations or hotels; in short, doing whatever it takes to walk the Camino and get to Santiago without becoming complete physical wrecks.

We may be in our 60s, but we're babes in the woods when it comes to knowing the best way to get fit enough to do the Camino. We've decided that if we don't reach a level of fitness by the end of October that will enable us to do the Camino in relative ease, we probably won't attempt it at all.

Any and all advice welcome. Young 'uns, please remember that being in one's 60s means we cannot simply jump into vigorous physical routines that you can do with ease. With age comes joint wear, much greater susceptibility to injury, much longer healing times and much less stamina in general. We have to start gently and work up to tougher programs, especially since we've never been very active during our entire adult lives. Thanks.
 

Walli Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances '2009', Camino Portuguese from Porto '2015', Camino Ingles from Ferrol '2015', Finisterre and Muxia '2015'. Tentatively planning Camino from Granada '2017'.
It sounds as though you know exactly what to do. Just do it. Start your training. No excuses. This could be a life changer for you both. Buen Camino!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Yes, I agree @psychoticparrot - training and getting yourself fit enough to finish the walk will be life changers for you, as it was for me 15 years ago. That first camino broke the bad patterns I had fallen into, I lost weight and have continued to do so ever since. Preparing for the camino was in itself a major part of the process, because I knew if I had to get at least reasonably fit. I am now, at over 60, fitter than when I was half this age.

I also started my "getting fit" routine by going to a gym and using the cross-trainer, which I found was gentle on my knees. At first I could only do 5 minutes at a time, but I gradually increased the time until I could do an hour (or more). It happens. Same with walking. Start with short easy distances, and gradually increase them. Get yourself a Fitbit or something similar, so you can see your progress. I would listen to audio books, music, anything to keep me happy until I actually started to enjoy it! Amazing.

My one bit of advice is when you do walk the Camino (and even in the planning) don't skip bits after you start walking. It does not matter where you start, but once you do, keep walking. If you need to rest and recover, sit out a day or two, sitting in the plaza, drinking coffee and watching the world go by, but don't hop on a bus. Once you do it destroys the impetus to "walk every step" and it gets too easy to keep going on motorised transport. There is also intense satisfaction in knowing you "did it all, every inch". To do this, it is important to leave yourself plenty of time to complete the walk.

Roncesvales is a great starting point; you can arrive in time for the traditional pilgrim blessing in the church at the evening service, stay in the albergue overnight, and set out with all the other pilgrims the next morning.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Train so that you have an accurate indicator of your ability to walk a half-marathon a day for over a month! I prefer starting from Pamplona. I have done the Pyrenees several times, and, honestly, it is over-rated in my opinion! If you want to see them, take a day trip from Pamplona. Take the bus to SJPdP, walk around, then take the afternoon bus back to your luggage in Pamplona. You will see the Pyrenees views twice, and not have to walk over them. ;)
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
I honestly think that the link mspath kindly directed you to '60 & over on the Camino' will soon morph into '70 & over on the Camo'. There are lots of them out there on the 'Way'. Wish you well in your training and Buen Camino.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
Hi -- I have not yet walked the Camino, but I will in 32 days. I am old (70), and have been both fit and unfit in my life, so would like to share a few thoughts. As far as general fitness goes, I work out in a local senior center which has strength and balance training aimed at seniors. The pace is slower, but I have experienced a lot of improvement participating (and enjoyment!) Second, I would like to recommend the book "Slackpacking the Camino Frances" by Silvia Nilsen. She has recommended "stages" for people who only want to walk 10-15K a day and one even shorter for those only going from Sarria. This would not make you a "turigrino," in my opinion. All of us have to be realists both about our goals and about our bodies. I like your idea of swimming for fitness. As for walking, many do not use hiking boots on the Camino, but in terms of getting fit why not walk increasing distances in the shoes that are most comfortable for your feet? The same with backpack, don't start now but do exercises to build up your core(think pilates) and your overall strength. I wish you well, and think you can do this, but hope you will consider allowing yourself to go shorter distances, take more time, and allow yourself to plan your Camino from where you are. You will probably have a better idea of this as you start getting fit.
 

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... .. .
Please please please remember to stretch stretch stretch stretch. That will keep you both from getting hurt. Then I would recommend a couple months of low calorie diet and steadily increase in walking every other week. Start at like 3-5 kms every other day for a couple weeks, then go to nearly every day for a few weeks, then go to 5-7 kms every other day for a couple weeks, etc. Once you get to being able to do 12-15 kms every few days start adding packs on your back... after a few weeks add weight to them (clothes, water etc). Once you can do that regularly you can pretty much do the Camino.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
Yes, I agree @psychoticparrot - training and getting yourself fit enough to finish the walk will be life changers for you, as it was for me 15 years ago. That first camino broke the bad patterns I had fallen into, I lost weight and have continued to do so ever since. Preparing for the camino was in itself a major part of the process, because I knew if I had to get at least reasonably fit. I am now, at over 60, fitter than when I was half this age.

I also started my "getting fit" routine by going to a gym and using the cross-trainer, which I found was gentle on my knees. At first I could only do 5 minutes at a time, but I gradually increased the time until I could do an hour (or more). It happens. Same with walking. Start with short easy distances, and gradually increase them. Get yourself a Fitbit or something similar, so you can see your progress. I would listen to audio books, music, anything to keep me happy until I actually started to enjoy it! Amazing.

My one bit of advice is when you do walk the Camino (and even in the planning) don't skip bits after you start walking. It does not matter where you start, but once you do, keep walking. If you need to rest and recover, sit out a day or two, sitting in the plaza, drinking coffee and watching the world go by, but don't hop on a bus. Once you do it destroys the impetus to "walk every step" and it gets too easy to keep going on motorised transport. There is also intense satisfaction in knowing you "did it all, every inch". To do this, it is important to leave yourself plenty of time to complete the walk.

Roncesvales is a great starting point; you can arrive in time for the traditional pilgrim blessing in the church at the evening service, stay in the albergue overnight, and set out with all the other pilgrims the next morning.
Thank you! I've been saying to my husband, "Well, if any particular day gets tough, we'll call a cab." Apparently, not a good idea if it can be avoided. Thanks.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
Hi -- I have not yet walked the Camino, but I will in 32 days. I am old (70), and have been both fit and unfit in my life, so would like to share a few thoughts. As far as general fitness goes, I work out in a local senior center which has strength and balance training aimed at seniors. The pace is slower, but I have experienced a lot of improvement participating (and enjoyment!) Second, I would like to recommend the book "Slackpacking the Camino Frances" by Silvia Nilsen. She has recommended "stages" for people who only want to walk 10-15K a day and one even shorter for those only going from Sarria. This would not make you a "turigrino," in my opinion. All of us have to be realists both about our goals and about our bodies. I like your idea of swimming for fitness. As for walking, many do not use hiking boots on the Camino, but in terms of getting fit why not walk increasing distances in the shoes that are most comfortable for your feet? The same with backpack, don't start now but do exercises to build up your core(think pilates) and your overall strength. I wish you well, and think you can do this, but hope you will consider allowing yourself to go shorter distances, take more time, and allow yourself to plan your Camino from where you are. You will probably have a better idea of this as you start getting fit.
Thanks for your good advice. I've already downloaded the "Slackpacking...." book onto my Kindle.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
Please please please remember to stretch stretch stretch stretch. That will keep you both from getting hurt. Then I would recommend a couple months of low calorie diet and steadily increase in walking every other week. Start at like 3-5 kms every other day for a couple weeks, then go to nearly every day for a few weeks, then go to 5-7 kms every other day for a couple weeks, etc. Once you get to being able to do 12-15 kms every few days start adding packs on your back... after a few weeks add weight to them (clothes, water etc). Once you can do that regularly you can pretty much do the Camino.
I've cut and pasted your reply into my Camino folder. Thank you.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you! I've been saying to my husband, "Well, if any particular day gets tough, we'll call a cab." Apparently, not a good idea if it can be avoided. Thanks.
I like Kanga's advice a lot. Not intending to get any fights started, but I do think that one of the downsides of the "it's your Camino" mantra has been to remove any sense of personal challenge, which may not be essential but surely adds to the enjoyment. Sure you can take a taxi for kms and kms and kms, it's your Camino, but maybe you can also walk for kms and kms and kms. I'm certainly not advocating that you put yourself in danger of physical harm, but I think that for those of us in the US at least, we are used to so many easy work-arounds to any physical challenge that we are not used to digging deep to keep going. For me, one of the real unanticipated benefits of the Camino has been a big change in my level of physical activity at home. When I look back and remember that I used to drive 1.8 miles to get to work I realize how easy it is to get in a different routine with a little bit of effort. And the Camino taught me that!

It's of course a totally personal decision about how much you want to push yourself, but I think that lots of peregrinos would be surprised at how much they have in the tank when the going gets tough! Buen camino, Laurie
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Best of all practice works both ways when the going gets tough.

Roughly 6 months ago after falling on my 11th CF I could neither stand nor walk unaided.
After several weeks of bed-rest at home I could at last move with a wobble. While remembering climbing O Cebreiro I slowly practiced walking normally. (Ouf!) Today at 77 I climbed our hill to cut trees!! ...All those years of camino walking gave and give me the true strength to go on.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I don't offer @psychoticparrot advice. I try not to advise anyone. But I will offer an alternative view where there is one to offer. Walking is easy for humans, we are built for it. We evolved to walk upright as we made our way down from the tree canopy.

I've not been in a gym since I left school. The only time I've been on a treadmill was when my cardiologist asked me to. I keep fit, gain fitness, by walking. Lots of walking. It uses the right muscles in the right way. I walk on every terrain I can find from steep shale slopes to deep muddy sloughs. I walk on our beautiful Downland grass and I walk our glistening Tarmac. I walk till I sweat, I walk to make my heart beat faster, I walk till I'm heaving for breath on an a big uphill and I walk slowly and softly till heartbeat and breath are as back to normal as they will ever be. And then I walk some more - backpacked or laden with shopping or just to the pub for a pint. I am not in training for some athletic challenge. I am a pilgrim.

A pilgrim walks to Santiago, (pace you bikers, no slight intended) that is all a Pilgrim does. They can do it fast, they can do it slow. They can do it carrying too much luggage or too many expectations. They can do it in fear or hope. But all they gotta do is walk. Practice walking. If you can walk some kilometres, lets say 10/15/20, on one day and then do it again the next day, and then the next, then you can walk to Santiago. And the only, absolutely only, target that you should set yourself is walking to Santiago. And when you get there, as one day you will, well then you will have achieved that which you set out to achieve.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Could I add a comment from a 67 year old non vehicle owner (except for my bicycle)? I walked the camino frances in October and November of 2015, from St Jean Pied de Port, as I particularly love mountains. If you can, from where you live, get used to walking locally, not just for exercise, but for errands. Walking is our normal human means of getting around - to the store for milk, to visit a friend, just to get some fresh air. To me, training sounds like work, errands sound like life. If you enjoy training, go for it. If you don't, try just walking around. That's all the camino is, a long walk at whatever pace works for you. Even if you decide to train, try walking around your neighbourhood at a comfortable pace. Carry your purchases in a backpack. See how you like it. If you can increase the distance gradually to what you want to do on the camino, and include the occasional hill, you may be ready to go. It's not rocket science. It's just life. Of course, I assume that you are checking with your doctor if you have serious health concerns. I am blessed with general good health and the camino is so much a continuation of my everyday life that I have never much worried about whether I can walk.
 

Botaivica

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May - July 2016
SJPP - Santiago - Finisterra
May 2017
Caminho do Tejo
June 2017
Fatima - Santiago
At the risk of being labeled "turigrinos," we're also considering skipping the Pyrenees and starting in Roncesvalles, having our packs transported, staying in private accommodations or hotels; in short, doing whatever it takes to walk the Camino and get to Santiago without becoming complete physical wrecks.


Thanks.
Hi psychoticparrot, :)

others have given good advice, I'm write about upgrade. By the way, I'm 65 and I start my first Camino at May 22 from SJPP.

There are two upgrade much more difficult than the Pyrenees, Foncebadon and O Celebrio. I recommend you to walk Pyrenees as test. If you pass well the Pyrenees you will pass Camino. ;)

Bota :)
 

Ahhhs

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago, May 2015
Porto to Santiago, April 2016
Muxia-Finisterre-Santiago, April 2016
Camino Del Norte, April 2017
Walking every day is an critical part of training. Start off slowly and increase the distance as you get stronger. Make a point of doing it every day and get used to waking up, getting your hiking shoes on, and walking out the door...even when you are tired or don't feel like it. I did no strength training or anything fancy but did lots of walking which I found very helpful. The Camino is really just that...a very long walk.

Starting in Roncesvalles is a good option. And there is no shame in taking a taxi if a physical issue warrants it. As long as you walk the required last 100km for your compostela.

One of the most important things is to allow plenty of time to complete your pilgrimage. That way you can walk at a comfortable pace and not push yourself past your physical limits and take rest days as needed.

Good luck to you and Buen Camino.
 

Lachance

Me llamo Deb
Camino(s) past & future
Part Francese 2016
If you don't already speak Spanish, you can pick up some by listening to lessons as you walk or train at the gym. It's useful and helps alleviate the boredom of hours on exercise machines or repeatedly walking the same streets, if you can't always be hiking in the Appalachians. I can recommend these free audio lessons which you can download from the site or iTunes:
http://radiolingua.com/coffeebreakspanish/
 

Seabird

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF April/May (2016), starting in St. Palais, France
If you don't already speak Spanish, you can pick up some by listening to lessons as you walk or train at the gym. It's useful and helps alleviate the boredom of hours on exercise machines or repeatedly walking the same streets, if you can't always be hiking in the Appalachians. I can recommend these free audio lessons which you can download from the site or iTunes:
http://radiolingua.com/coffeebreakspanish/
I also recommend this podcast, for the very same reasons, even though I can and do hike the Appalachians. (Can't help it, see my attached picture of me on PB120568.JPG McAfee's Knob, the most photographed place on the Appalachian Trail.)
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
My words comes with a side of salt; gosh knows I've only done the CF once. It was late Sept/Oct & few days of Nov. It is meant only to share an elder's experience. As Kanga, mspath, Peregrina & others have written in different but always wise ways, I do believe you will discover you are stronger than you think, as long as you keep walking. Heed the call and take the first two days slowly - then find a doable daily distance. I started from StJPdP last week of Sept and five days in, came down with acute bronchitis. I kept going. Yes, there was much coughing and had to stop at two medical clinics. Clearly, it was taking a bit of my steam, but I still felt strong everywhere else. There were definitely a couple of spots where I came face to face with what I thought might be my limit but always, I found my strength. On the 37th day, I walked into Santiago in time to celebrate my 80th birthday. (even though there are many who still don't believe me). There's no limit to the help, kindness and encouragement you will find along the way. I am now planning for 2017. Wish you a wonderful Buen Camino.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
But you still have an additional 5 months in which to train.
Our thinking is that if we can't get our weight, health, and stamina in good enough shape by October, we probably never will. I know that's a very negative way of thinking, but we've tried similar health stints in the past and they always came to nothing. If the Camino can't provide enough motivation, I don't think anything will.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
If you don't already speak Spanish, you can pick up some by listening to lessons as you walk or train at the gym. It's useful and helps alleviate the boredom of hours on exercise machines or repeatedly walking the same streets, if you can't always be hiking in the Appalachians. I can recommend these free audio lessons which you can download from the site or iTunes:
http://radiolingua.com/coffeebreakspanish/
The past 3 months in Nicaragua have improved my Spanish proficiency, but I need more work before I can say I speak Spanish with any fluency. And by all accounts, Spanish in Spain is quite a bit different from Spanish in Nicaragua. Another thing to work on in addition to the physical aspects.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Well, they say brain training along with exercise is the best way to ward off dementia. So learning a language from something like Duolingo, as you walk along, is a great idea. @psychoticparrot I really would not call the whole thing off if you get to October and aren't satisfied - I never ramp up to my full training regime until after I've bought tickets, am committed, and the deadline is staring me in the face.
 
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Montana Jayne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
My husband (71) and I (69) did Camino Frances fall 2015 from SJPP. I've walked for 5 or 6 years and my husband only walked 6 months before going. He's always been fit, me... not as much. I did core training and Hoist machines at the Y for 4 months. We did little hill/mtn training. He walked with a backpack 6 or so times. You are a year out so GO FOR IT! Best advice ... start an exercise program that is simple and increase intensity gradually. We adjusted when I got plantar fasciitis and I took cabs (not expensive) or local buses (cheap) and met at alberques. We had 7 weeks, but finished in 38 days. Remember you can set your own pace and enjoy each day. We took extra days in Burgos, Leon and Astorga. It is a wonderful experience for us. We were truly amazed at the variety of ages and fitness levels. Really you just need to want to do it. Bien camino!
 

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
You have a year to get ready for your Camino, I am sure if the will is there to walk a Camino, you will do it. As with everything in life, the better you are at doing something the more you will enjoy it. So start slowly and build up, it will be the best time of your life. Age is not a barrier.
 

BrienC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, July 2015
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabrés, Oct/Nov 2016
It sounds as though you know exactly what to do. Just do it. Start your training. No excuses. This could be a life changer for you both. Buen Camino!
I have an armband I bought at a donativo stand on the CF last year. It says, El Camino es la Meta (The Camino is the Goal.) As Walli Walker said, "...you know exactly what to do." Now it simply needs to be an all-consuming goal (aside from taking care of yourselves and your commitments) that you guys want to meet. It is worth it. Anything worth doing is worth the effort.

I have a training plan in my book (see signature line), but there are many such resources available on this forum. Seek and yee shall find.

Buen Camino
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Specific to helping with the inevitable stress to your legs, I would offer the following . . . On the Runner's Connect (http://runnersconnect.net/), there are two excellent PDFs that you can get. One is "preventative exercises for the achilles" and the other is the "ultimate guide to running injuries". I use these almost as a bible when it comes to dealing with issues with anything leg-related. Both help to identify specific issues you are experiencing, and both provide excellent exercises that can be used preventatively and as early onset treatment when problems arise.

As to cardio, there's lots of good advice above, including cross training such as swimming or even cycling (stationary or on the road). Two approaches are commonly used to build your cardio/lung capacity. First, sustained exertion to keep your heart rate just below the redline where you start to go into oxygen debt. The other wold be repetitive intervals where your peak exertion drives you into the red zone for a short term, and then you drop down to a low level to recover, and then you peak again. In this case, it is your own body that serves as the gauge for your intensity, and the measure of your progress. A quality heart rate monitor is key here. Although I haven't researched them recently (I have an old, reliable Polar chest strap that I have used for 12 or so years), I recommend looking for one that includes a chest strap (my FitBit includes an HRM and it is far less accurate). For the record, I have asthma and had a very long recovery process from double-lung pneumonia, and the combination of sustained exertion and intervals, over a nine month period, almost doubled my lung capacity. Time, patience, moderation, and prudence are key, along with regular check-ins with my doctor.
 

plainlost

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
The past 3 months in Nicaragua have improved my Spanish proficiency, but I need more work before I can say I speak Spanish with any fluency. And by all accounts, Spanish in Spain is quite a bit different from Spanish in Nicaragua. Another thing to work on in addition to the physical aspects.
I'm Nicaraguan!! HOW COOL IS IT that you have been there for a few months!
 

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
So much wise and wonderful advice from experienced walkers here. Can't add too much except to ask if you have considered some cross training? I've been recovering from a foot fracture and have spent a lot of time in the swimming pool during my rehab, a lot of that walking in water with an aqua belt which built up strength, endurance and fitness without straining my joints too much.

Buen Camino!
 

GreatDane

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF to Burgos Sept/Oct 2014, Burgos to Astorga April 2016, Astorga to SdC 2017
I agree with those that have said to get used to walking locally! 40+ years ago when I didn't own a car I thought nothing of packing my laundry in my backpack, hiking to the laundrymat, buying groceries, visiting the library and stopping for a tea somewhere. Walking the entire time, always with a load. And sounds like a Camino day doesn't it. Owning a car ruined those great walking habits I had!
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
I'm Nicaraguan!! HOW COOL IS IT that you have been there for a few months!
I can't honestly say it's been cool, plainlost. I've been more impressed by the heat. The volcanoes to the north and south of Managua (Momotombo and Masaya) have both been erupting almost nonstop while I've been here. HOW HOT IS THAT? Very hot and very bad for my asthma. Love lots of things about Nicaragua (the parrots, the people, the nacatamal!) but I'll be glad to get home.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
So much wise and wonderful advice from experienced walkers here. Can't add too much except to ask if you have considered some cross training? I've been recovering from a foot fracture and have spent a lot of time in the swimming pool during my rehab, a lot of that walking in water with an aqua belt which built up strength, endurance and fitness without straining my joints too much.

Buen Camino!
I have thought about cross training, but I'm not quite yet there physically to do even the mildest training. Maybe later on in the summer when I (and my husband) have built up a little strength and stamina.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
I agree with those that have said to get used to walking locally! 40+ years ago when I didn't own a car I thought nothing of packing my laundry in my backpack, hiking to the laundrymat, buying groceries, visiting the library and stopping for a tea somewhere. Walking the entire time, always with a load. And sounds like a Camino day doesn't it. Owning a car ruined those great walking habits I had!
I just did some figuring in my head (and on Google). My husband and I live on our boat in the summer and fall in a marina just outside Baltimore. If I load up my dirty laundry and head to the laundromat (which is where I take it anyway by car), drop it off (3 miles), stop at the supermarket on the way back, take a break at a pub, and then stop at the post office, all of which are right along the way back, that's an 6+-mile round trip (10km), a very good start to our 15-20km/day goal. Great idea, GreatDane! And a wonderful way to gauge my fitness level. Thank you!
 

Angie94

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - 2016 www.angie-carter.com/camino
https://youtu.be/PtE_hvREZc4
Great ideas! and that is exactly what I did also...when I first started walking I only did 1 mile, then 2 and when I got to 3 (5km) I thought OMGoodness this is HARD and had to go home and take a nap! but then I started walking to the grocery store and carrying some groceries back (my granddaughter thought I was crazy!) it is 2.5 miles there and 2.5 back. Then walked to the post office...walked to the mall...walked to my meetings...walked to events (if they weren't really far away) and NOW....I am up to 15 miles (around 25 km) WITH a 20 lb pack! :) (just did 15 yesterday and 15 today - somebody earlier in this thread mentioned digging deep ~ that was exactly what I had texted a friend "I really had to dig deep today!" I don't know why it was so much harder today, probably cuz I am breaking in my hiking sandals. Brand new Keen Newport H2! they are great. Anyway I agree with OP's statement about the motivation. If I am not REALLY motivated it's not gonna happen. And I want/need/must do this camino and so I am super motivated to do it. I also prayed that I would stick to my training and get in shape.
And it's also true ~ we are stronger than we think! But for me it didn't happen overnight.

I also think that it's beneficial for our kids and grandkids to see us investing in ourselves and that walking IS GOOD FOR YOU and not something to shy away from.
Stick with it, you can do it!!:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
Well - the first thing - toughen-up your "tenderfeet"!! The weight loss is fantastic and even without the camino it will improve your lives (imho).
As Kanga and mspath have suggested start slowly over the next 3-4 months. The experiences from Nicaragua will stand you in good stead. The "fitbit" (or similar) will provide the measure of steps taken/miles(km) travelled each day, you will be surprised at how many steps you take each day. From the comments about medication you seem to have a good relation with the family doctor - keep her/him informed of your activities so your progress can be measured. Speak to your senior friends about a gym/training facility in your local area that has activities designed for us over 60's.
Once on camino don't worry if you have to use the "backpack forwarding" system if you need to, they are designed to help you whilst you get road fit. Also build into your schedule rest days/half days. Places like Pamplona/Burgos/Leon are well worth a day of so to explore and take in their cultural offerings. (Whilst it is not a serious training guide the Martin Shean/Emilio Estevez movie The Way does show some of these cultural places). Also have time at the end of your camino to take-in Santiago - two or three days if possible!
So now get that mental fitness going and look forward to your (northern) Spring 2017 when you will be enjoying the flowers of northern Spain. Buen Camino.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
Well - the first thing - toughen-up your "tenderfeet"!! The weight loss is fantastic and even without the camino it will improve your lives (imho).
As Kanga and mspath have suggested start slowly over the next 3-4 months. The experiences from Nicaragua will stand you in good stead. The "fitbit" (or similar) will provide the measure of steps taken/miles(km) travelled each day, you will be surprised at how many steps you take each day. From the comments about medication you seem to have a good relation with the family doctor - keep her/him informed of your activities so your progress can be measured. Speak to your senior friends about a gym/training facility in your local area that has activities designed for us over 60's.
Once on camino don't worry if you have to use the "backpack forwarding" system if you need to, they are designed to help you whilst you get road fit. Also build into your schedule rest days/half days. Places like Pamplona/Burgos/Leon are well worth a day of so to explore and take in their cultural offerings. (Whilst it is not a serious training guide the Martin Shean/Emilio Estevez movie The Way does show some of these cultural places). Also have time at the end of your camino to take-in Santiago - two or three days if possible!
So now get that mental fitness going and look forward to your (northern) Spring 2017 when you will be enjoying the flowers of northern Spain. Buen Camino.
Haha, I hate to admit it, but it was "The Way" that first instilled in me and my husband several years ago the desire to do the Camino. The first time we saw the film, I was at 275 pounds at a height of 5'1" (Sorry, metric system people. Convert it if you wish), and the Camino seemed like an unattainable dream. But with the loss of most of my excess fat, it now seems possible, but I'm still working with a 275-pound mind-set. It's hard to get around that.

We've learned since that the Camino is not all bucolic rural byways portrayed in the movie, but that has not lessened our desire to do it. I think you're right about the mental fitness -- we're a bit timid about our ability to do this, but I think a positive attitude will serve us much better as we train physically. Thank you!
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
Great ideas! and that is exactly what I did also...when I first started walking I only did 1 mile, then 2 and when I got to 3 (5km) I thought OMGoodness this is HARD and had to go home and take a nap! but then I started walking to the grocery store and carrying some groceries back (my granddaughter thought I was crazy!) it is 2.5 miles there and 2.5 back. Then walked to the post office...walked to the mall...walked to my meetings...walked to events (if they weren't really far away) and NOW....I am up to 15 miles (around 25 km) WITH a 20 lb pack! :) (just did 15 yesterday and 15 today - somebody earlier in this thread mentioned digging deep ~ that was exactly what I had texted a friend "I really had to dig deep today!" I don't know why it was so much harder today, probably cuz I am breaking in my hiking sandals. Brand new Keen Newport H2! they are great. Anyway I agree with OP's statement about the motivation. If I am not REALLY motivated it's not gonna happen. And I want/need/must do this camino and so I am super motivated to do it. I also prayed that I would stick to my training and get in shape.
And it's also true ~ we are stronger than we think! But for me it didn't happen overnight.

I also think that it's beneficial for our kids and grandkids to see us investing in ourselves and that walking IS GOOD FOR YOU and not something to shy away from.
Stick with it, you can do it!!:)
Our son and DIL think that the Camino is just another of our sometimes admittedly hare-brained ideas. I do want to show them that we can do it, in hopes that they will do something similar for themselves, even if it's just to go to the gym regularly. Both have high-pressure, time-consuming jobs and their health has suffered for it. And my 8-year-old grandson! -- he subsists on the worst of American junk food, and I want so much better for him. Maybe our trek will help with that. Thanks for reminding me that walking the Camino can be a pilgrimage in so many other ways than just personal.

Thanks for reminding me how much motivation our children and grandchildren can provide!
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
Others have said this before, but I thought each day on the camino tested me physically, mentally, and spiritually. Getting fit before heading for the camino is really important because that feeds your mental attitude and you come to believe I CAN DO THIS! With the physical and mental under control you CAN enjoy what comes your way. You can kind of work through issues, resolve things, and find a kind of peace. I love that I brought a camino spirit home to my everyday life. It is a great gift. Bien camino!
 

auldies

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Thanks for reminding me how much motivation our children and grandchildren can provide!
I sincerely applaud you for the stance you are taking in this space. We too have children and grandchildren and we are constantly seeking to be good role models for them in all areas - what we do , what we say (and how we say it), what we eat, how we exercise etc. It is definitely a daily challenge, but certainly one we are determined to continue striving to achieve.
My hope and prayer for you both is that you will achieve your objective and that your children and grandchildren will want to emulate your feats (or is that feets ;)). I am hoping one day that one or all of our grandchildren will ask to join us on the camino!
Keep your focus, support and encourage each other with every step, and as my old school motto said 'Press towards the goal'!
Report in on your progress so your fellow pilgrims can offer kudos and encouragement.
You can do it!!!
Buen Camino and Ultreia
 

Chacharm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Frances (2012) Vie Del Norte (2015) Via Frances (2016) Le Puy (2017)
Do everything you think you should do - and add toe lifts. When you're standing in line somewhere or getting up from the TV to go to the bathroom or whatever, do a quick 20 (just stand up on your tip toes and lower yourself back and up again). Helps balance and strengthens calves and ankles. I am not good about training but I do this and when I am on the Camino I am so...SO...glad I do!
 

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... .. .
Do everything you think you should do - and add toe lifts. When you're standing in line somewhere or getting up from the TV to go to the bathroom or whatever, do a quick 20 (just stand up on your tip toes and lower yourself back and up again). Helps balance and strengthens calves and ankles. I am not good about training but I do this and when I am on the Camino I am so...SO...glad I do!
Or toe flexes. Lift your foot off the ground and bend it forward, then back while in the air just a few inches off the ground. Good for preventing shin-splints.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Via Tolosana
Hi psychoticparrot, :)



There are two upgrade much more difficult than the Pyrenees, Foncebadon and O Celebrio. I recommend you to walk Pyrenees as test. If you pass well the Pyrenees you will pass Camino. ;)

Bota :)
Hi Botaivica and buen camino:)
Just one thing I wanted to clarify.
The Pyrénées are demanding because for most people, it is the first day. A baptism of fire and yes, if you make it, the feeling is great, I don't deny that.
BUT the Camino originally started from your home! St Jean pied de Port is not the start of THE Camino, there is no such thing.
Of course the French walked through there but the Spanish never did. Why should they? People from other parts of Europe necessarily walked through France of course but not the British (who faced an equally dangerous crossing!)
All I am trying to say (not very well I realise!) is that there is no need whatsoever to start on the other side of the Pyrénées... :confused:
 

woodswoman

Member
Hi psychoticparrot, :)

others have given good advice, I'm write about upgrade. By the way, I'm 65 and I start my first Camino at May 22 from SJPP.

There are two upgrade much more difficult than the Pyrenees, Foncebadon and O Celebrio. I recommend you to walk Pyrenees as test. If you pass well the Pyrenees you will pass Camino. ;)

Bota :)

I have read these comments and want to say that I walked my first Camino (Frances) from SJPP to Santiago in September/October 2013, at the nearly 67. Camino del Norte in the same months in 2015, at nearly 69, from Irun to Santiago. I was so afraid of O Cebriero and hadn't even thought of Foncebadon. But once I got to those points, I almost didn't notice the upgrade because I had walked for weeks to get there. I promised myself one "off" day each week, in which I found a hotel or pension to stay, giving my body a chance to really refresh itself. My daughter had said, "Mom, what if it's too hard?" And I said, "I'll just go more slowly."

That said, I had two early stints in which I hitchhiked (first time in my life, EVER) the last 4-6 km, and felt guilty. This is not the thing to feel while you are doing one of the biggest and most exhilarating (and exhausting) challenges in your life. GUILTY has no place on the Camino for a walker. I too was not a hiker, never. I was not much of a health-club person, but I did love to walk. I could walk around NYC all day, but didn't relish walking up mountains in Colorado.

Still, the total joy I felt while walking the Frances, once I got past the first two weeks of exhaustion, continued and carried me through the next two years. When I got to the del Norte last year, with its much more difficult terrain and a horrid chest cold on the second day, I thought, "What the f*#k did you think you were doing? Who do you think you are to try this again?" But I did it. I did take buses for part of a day when I couldn't both cough and climb in the pouring rain. A friend at home said, "Don't let anyone guilt trip you . . . that person is sitting at home on the couch!"

I DO agree that walking every step when you possibly can is the way to go. It might get too easy to just bus it all the way to Santiago. And on the Camino Frances there are so many places to stop that you can cut your day short if you have problems. I watched a new friend do that for a week so she could get her feet and ankles healthy again. She'd walk for 8-10 km and stop for the day, soak her feet, and start again the next day. On the Norte, it's harder to walk short distances and find a place to stay.

But your determination, your awareness of your own physical weaker places, is balanced by the things you wrote about what you might begin doing. You go for it, both of you. There are many opportunities for flexibility on the Frances, some of which you listed. Sending part of your pack, staying in hotels at least sometimes, etc. And someone above did say that making a decision in October shorts you five months of more preparation.

Decide you can go, work yourself up to some of it, but remember that partly, the Camino trains you. Someone (on her third Camino Frances) told me that about four days into my first walk. Congratulations on your desire, dedication, dream of joining the other peregrinos on the trails.
 

SimiK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
Hello, all. My husband and I are both 64, in relative good health, are complete tenderfoots, have never done any serious walking or hiking in our lives ... and yet we both greatly desire to walk the Camino next year in April and May.

We've been in Managua, Nicaragua, for the past 3 months and will go back to Baltimore MD in two weeks. To give you an idea of our level of (un)fitness, we walk nearly every day in 85-95-degree F (30-35C) heat about 3-4 kms to get groceries and go to restaurants. No problems (no packs either). We tested ourselves last week by walking uphill on the main road out of Managua (a mild incline) just to see how far we could go (no packs, just us). We got about 5 kms before flagging down a taxi to take us back to our hotel. Took a day or two to recover from that exertion. So you can see we have some work cut out for us before April 2017.

Between us, we have a variety of ailments that have the potential to become serious if we're not careful -- asthma, moderate obesity (I had bariatric surgery last year and have lost 110 pounds (50Kg) with another 50 (22Kg) to go; my husband needs to lose about 60 pounds (27Kg), coronary heart stents, mild sleep apnea (both of us use CPAPs). We both have prescription maintenance medications that must be taken daily.

My question is this: With a whole year to prepare for the Camino, where, when and how should we begin to get in shape? We're thinking of starting with weight training at a gym, swimming and walking to strengthen heart and lungs, buying backpacks (and weighting them) and hiking boots and driving to the nearby Appalachians to do some weekend hikes. Does this sound like a good plan?

At the risk of being labeled "turigrinos," we're also considering skipping the Pyrenees and starting in Roncesvalles, having our packs transported, staying in private accommodations or hotels; in short, doing whatever it takes to walk the Camino and get to Santiago without becoming complete physical wrecks.

We may be in our 60s, but we're babes in the woods when it comes to knowing the best way to get fit enough to do the Camino. We've decided that if we don't reach a level of fitness by the end of October that will enable us to do the Camino in relative ease, we probably won't attempt it at all.

Any and all advice welcome. Young 'uns, please remember that being in one's 60s means we cannot simply jump into vigorous physical routines that you can do with ease. With age comes joint wear, much greater susceptibility to injury, much longer healing times and much less stamina in general. We have to start gently and work up to tougher programs, especially since we've never been very active during our entire adult lives. Thanks.

My suggestion, since you have a whole year,is to set aside concerns about your packs, boots, and even hills. Get to the gym. Hire a trainer for insights into best strategies and machines, and how to use them properly. Sign up for some classes, perhaps yoga? Definitely start swimming. It's the best way your entire body can gain flexibility. Walk wherever you can. Set a weight loss goal for the next month, two months, three months.
After that, evaluate how you're doing. Then go from there.You want to first get into good shape, lose excess weight, etc. Leaving six months is plenty of time to then start with getting boots, packs, and adding distance and weight. Keep in mind that your boot size may also be affected by weight changes, so hold off on those. You can see what's comfortable, but I wouldn't buy them just yet.
Buen Camino! If you believe you can really do this, then you can. You don't have to think about your route or distance yet either.
 

Old Koot

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(09/2013)
With a whole year to prepare for the Camino, where, when and how should we begin to get in shape?
Forget all the gym / trainer advice and just use that time saved to start walking, now, and once you get into the rhythm, start climbing as many hills and mountains as you can find. What you absolutely need is cardiac/vascular stamina, not brute strength. Notwithstanding, once you are in adequate condition, walking a 500 mile Camino is more mentally challenging than physical. I'm still overweight and I've have had arthritic knees now for over 20 years, along with borderline asthma, diabetes (which I control by walking) with now some lumbar spine issues and along with whatever else aging brings. I'm now briskly walking further than in the past, about one hour, 40 minutes, three or four times a week, including a climb up a 200 ft bank. Once good weather comes, I'll climb a local steep 2000 ft mountain a dozen time before I start walking the del Norte from Irun (again) this year and then the Camino Primitivo.

As I learned on my first Camino, backpack weight is critical, so keep it down. Also, buy good trekking poles.(Leki Carbonlite Aergon XL Trekking Poles, expensive, but worth it). For what it's worth, I finished my first Camino when I turned 74, four years ago. Because I had my backpack carried for me twice, took a taxi once (because the Albergue was full), and I suffered huge blisters, I had to go back and walk it "right", so I walked the Camino Francis again, carrying my still too heavy backpack the full distance to Santiago, and then beyond to Finisterre and Muxia. Crossing over the Pyrenees is easy, and well worth it, especially if you stay over in Orrission for the initial Camino atmosphere they create, Keep in mind there is a higher mountain range to be crossed further on.

So all in all, don't attempt walking the Camino as wimps, suffer now the pain by conditioning mind and body instead of later, then walking the Camino to Santiago will be rewarding.

If you want further advise from me, send me a personal message with a phone number, and I can call you.
 

Chacharm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Frances (2012) Vie Del Norte (2015) Via Frances (2016) Le Puy (2017)
Another thing to keep in mind is that on the Camino you have a specific destination. You're not just out for a stroll - you are going to the next albuergue. For me this makes a huge difference. I move faster and with a good deal more purpose than I do when I am walking around the hood. Don't judge your ability too harshly!
 

hughwilliams

Member
Camino(s) past & future
1999, 2004, 2008,All camino frances. 2013(mini bike)from seville 2014 mini bike from france. 2014 walked from porto . Will coastal walk 2015 (may-june)
I like Kanga's advice a lot. Not intending to get any fights started, but I do think that one of the downsides of the "it's your Camino" mantra has been to remove any sense of personal challenge, which may not be essential but surely adds to the enjoyment. Sure you can take a taxi for kms and kms and kms, it's your Camino, but maybe you can also walk for kms and kms and kms. I'm certainly not advocating that you put yourself in danger of physical harm, but I think that for those of us in the US at least, we are used to so many easy work-arounds to any physical challenge that we are not used to digging deep to keep going. For me, one of the real unanticipated benefits of the Camino has been a big change in my level of physical activity at home. When I look back and remember that I used to drive 1.8 miles to get to work I realize how easy it is to get in a different routine with a little bit of effort. And the Camino taught me that!

It's of course a totally personal decision about how much you want to push yourself, but I think that lots of peregrinos would be surprised at how much they have in the tank when the going gets tough! Buen camino, Laurie
Im over 70 now and am still suprised by the "get outs" so many people look for. Try no taxis, no tour company keep your own load light and just like the program from the 60's be a "tumble -weed", meet people, enjoy the moment, move on.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
Nothing is absolute. I have just spent 4 sobering days visiting my aunt in her nursing home. She cannot walk to the bathroom, and can barely lift a spoon to her mouth. Her camino is ending. For those of us still struggling here, what is easy for one is hard for another. If you can walk 800km without assistance, may God bless you. If you need assistance, be it with carrying or walking or planning, still go and may God bless you also.
 

hughwilliams

Member
Camino(s) past & future
1999, 2004, 2008,All camino frances. 2013(mini bike)from seville 2014 mini bike from france. 2014 walked from porto . Will coastal walk 2015 (may-june)
Im over 70 now and am still suprised by the "get outs" so many people look for. Try no taxis, no tour company keep your own load light and just like the program from the 60's be a "tumble -weed", meet people, enjoy the moment, move on.
My very best friend is only a few months older than me. He could not even walk up an aircraft steps, so we all have our own caminos. With his poorly acting heart we walked round churches in France and Germany as part of a bus tour. We light our candles and prayed with our wives, then he walked and talked in the villages while still with health I walked and prayed in the hills. (walk in the graveyard and what do you spy? Many poor souls that were younger than thy.)
In 2012 my wife said get out and do something. At our age far more burials than weddings. So many people to meet and the places to see. if I could change a very common saying "the longest journey starts with a determined step!"
My grandfather told me you rarely regret the things you do, rather those that are not done!
The girls not kissed, doors not opened and chances missed!
 

tony young

Ulysses ... mostly lost
Camino(s) past & future
september 2016;
.... I am a month in to gym training, and starting to feel fitter. Started with a trip to the doctors as I was concerned about having any major malfunction atop of the Pyrenees ..... had a stress test (interesting that a test designed to potentially save your life, very nearly kills you ... lol) .... found an exercise physiologist (up market personal trainer) to determine abilities, limitations and needs .... base lined and program built.

.... it has been a hard month ... without doubt ..... life changing ... my Camino started in the gym a month ago, as far as i am concerned
Walking in Sept16 from SJPP with my 21 year old son ... a camino shared
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Undoubtedly @tony young this will mean that at the end you can reverse your forum name! Great to hear. Keep going - it is all about continuing. Not too far until Sept 16 and by then you will be ready to fly up those hills. I dips my lid to you.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
Another thing to keep in mind is that on the Camino you have a specific destination. You're not just out for a stroll - you are going to the next albuergue. For me this makes a huge difference. I move faster and with a good deal more purpose than I do when I am walking around the hood. Don't judge your ability too harshly!
This is so true. Our practice walking was all in a circuit from home, and while we had some variations it did get very same-old-same-old after a while! I realised that part of why I was finding the training walks so tough was that I just got bored! Totally different when walking from A to B with a purpose each day - and of course every day is different, you're discovering the landscape and meeting new people. I found that I was able to walk much further on the Camino (although we were very slow and walked shorter distances than most), partly because it was so interesting to discover each day's path!
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
As a 67 year old man, who back in 2009 decided to get into shape, I can say that it will take you at least 6 months to get into really good shape, if not more. I started in January of 2009 to work myself into decent shape. I started by going to a gym and walking on a treadmill, then running on a treadmill then running on pavement. I did a Rock & Roll Half Marathon and while my time wasn't great, I finished. Since then I have run a number of additional half marathons, 15 km, and countless 5K's.

One of the best, "get in shape" training programs is the "Couch to 5 K" or C2 5K training program. There are dozens of them out there that are free on the internet. Find on and do it. Another thing to remember is that as an older person your body will not recover as quickly as a young person. That means that you need more rest days on a training program than one designed for a younger person or you will over-train and injure yourself. Most training programs has one rest or recovery day a week. You probably need 2 or 3 recovery days a week to stay healthy. One of the keys to running a half marathon or marathon is to not injure yourself in training.

While you will not be running the Camino, running is a great way to get in shape quickly, once you get to a basic level of fitness. Also keep in mind that running muscles are different than walking muscles and that walking on the flat muscles are different than walking up and down hill muscles. However, aerobic capacity is important to all endurance activities.

Once you have spend a couple months 3 or 4 times a week walking 40 to 60 minutes a day on a treadmill, then you can get a personal trainer to push you (if you want---or if you can motivate yourself just add some run-walks or hills to your treadmill time). However, once you get to within 6 months of your Camino, I would suggest you focus on sport specific exercises. For you that would be hiking with a backpack (gradually increase the weight) on flat, then gently rolling, then hilly terrain.

An alternate, you can always consider is doing what I am going to do and that is to do the Camino by bicycle. You will still need to get in shape for that as well, but it will be easier on your knees, if they become a problem.

Good luck
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
Agree with all the above advice. Just do it step by step. Day by day. Before you know it..you are in shape.
By the way, I am much older than you. In 2014 I did the Camino by riding a bike pulling a trailer. For those who saw me I was the guy on the red Bike Friday pulling the trailer. Trailer was black suitcase on wheels. Case had orange cross on back of trailer. Slept in tent most places. I was not in shape when started! Most of my riding was on highway Ended up pushing the bike-trailer up the hills. That got me into shape in a week or so. I will never forget the first few days! But hung in there.
Walked Camino in 2015. Lot better than biking!
Looking forward to walking this coming late April into June this year.

Just take your time. It is "your Camino."
I am increasing my distance every day and walking with pack. Do the same.
What fitness plan you decide on, stick with it.

Some do very little prep for their Camino. They use the first week or so to slowly walk into shape. That can be done. Not for me.

I want to have some walking with a pack under my belt before I start. Break in boots, get to know pack and other things.

My mistake last year was not doing enough training "hill" walking. The inclines/hills on the Camino really got to me last year. Especially the first week. Until I got into better shape. But I made it.

This year I am doing hill training before I go. With pack on.

Lots of good advice on here but most important ... just do it. But don't over train.
 
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