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Physical prep

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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
My intentions are always to be physically fit before each camino, but only sometimes have I succeeded. It does make a big difference to the first few weeks.

Some people - especially young people - can build up to exercise quickly, but for someone like me it takes much longer. I don't take a very scientific approach but I do know that walking uphill is the best thing I can do - and if the weather gives me an excuse, then getting on the cross trainer.

Here is a recent thread with lots of suggestions for physical pre-camino preparation.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I walk as much as I can, throughout the year. Since I am retired, I have more time available than many working people do. For all of 2021, I have walked at least 50 km/week. When I was working, I only got about half that amount done, although 2 or 3 months before a Camino, I would step it up somewhat, to include a few 20-km walks with my backpack and walking clothes.
 

Mark Barnes

Old Engineer
Past OR future Camino
Frances - September - November (2017)
I am a big guy so the hills killed me. I agree with if you are not in great shape then walking up some hills if you have them where you live.
If you out of shape, as I was, then the first two weeks are very hard so take it easy. After the first 10-14 days you, or I did, start to feel a lot better about the long 12 or so miles a day. * Note that the first two weeks I would walk 5 to 7 miles a day at best.
As said earlier, if you are healthy, don’t let fitness stop you from walking the Camino.
 
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swweyman

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Completed First Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago Camino in May 2018
How did you prepare physically for your Camino and would you do anything differently.
I live in Florida so apart from long walks in advance (also gave me a chance to ensure my shoes and socks were broken in and blister preventing), I didn't have any hills to climb and found the ascent throughout the Camino to be hard. I also wore my backpack daily for the last two weeks before the camino with weights in it that were heavier than my actual clothes. In retrospect I should have done what others have done here and train going up and down bleachers or garage ramps and I think that would have helped. I was 60 at the time and didn't have any other issues.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
How did you prepare physically for your Camino and would you do anything differently.
I am semi retired, 15kg overweight (10kg less than my last Camino). I am preparing now for my April CF by walking a few hours every day on pavement but plan to Incress this closer to the time to include three x 2 day 27 kms in full kit matching a profile of the first two days to Zubiri or Akerreta.

My first CF was a few years ago and I think I got the preparation about right for me. Everyone is different. My main concern was the fear of the unknown so, although you can’t train for 5 hr days x 35 in a row, you can try and match the tough first two days and be confident that going over the Pass of Roland and down to Roncesvalles is manageable.

There’s a great YouTube channel called Count Everything. I seem to recall him saying that something like 80% of pilgrims don’t really prepare. Bonkers, in my opinion, the lack of preparation is matched by the incredibly high foot injury rate in the first few days.

In my opinion, and there will be lots of different advice from real experts on this channel, is that provided your have:

1. A well tested sock and shoe combination
2. That your shoes are big enough to allow for swelling
3. That you have tried out your gear in different conditions over time and chucked out what you don’t need
4. You are fit enough to get to Pamplona with a skip in your step

Then you will be just fine

if you aren’t fit and experienced like me and would like a few more tips I would be very happy to share, busy there are some real experts in this group and the advice is excellent, passionate and also often contradictory!

Buen Camino
 

CA_Pilgrim

Member
Past OR future Camino
El Camino Real de California
Camino Frances (2017)
1. A well tested sock and shoe combination
2. That your shoes are big enough to allow for swelling
3. That you have tried out your gear in different conditions over time and chucked out what you don’t need
4. You are fit enough to get to Pamplona with a skip in your step
Though I've not done the Camino de Santiago yet (planned for May/June 2022), I am experienced with endurance through hiking. I agree with a lot of the comments here. namely gradually scale up the hikes to train your muscles and be sure to include some elevation training (hills). Losing the excess weight too will go a long way toward making the Camino a lot easier. However I think the above poster hit the nail on the head. In my experience, most folks starting out with endurance hiking do not have the proper footwear to and end up getting blisters which either makes their experience miserable or cuts their experience short.

An observation I've made is that folks tend to purchase footwear that is too small for their feet. They may feel comfortable under normal situations, but your feet swell a lot during long endurance hikes, hence friction and blisters. I always size up 1 full (American) size when purchasing hiking footwear and also do 1 width wider too. I measure 9.5 (left) and 10 (right) in American size shoes. However I always purchase 11 size shoes and with with a wide (2E) cut. I also have a high foot, so I look for lots of loft too.

As far as training goes, I think the most important part of it is that it helps you to figure out your weakest links in your body. Doing this early allows you to develop strategies for coping with them on the trail. For me, my weakest links are plantar fasciitis, an old skiing injury to my left knee, and second toes that are longer than the big toe (called Morton's Toe). Over the years, I have working strategies that allow me to continue doing long mileage hikes. But everyone is different, so figuring out your personal weak links is a very important aspect of training.
 
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CarolamS

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
I did train building up distance and kit weight and including hills. I also lost some body weight until I was in the healthy BMI range. In fact I lost just slightly more than my backpack weighed which gave me confidence that my knees would cope (one of my fears). Now I've just started to try and get back to healthy weight again in the hope that next year I will be walking a Camino again 🙏
Lots of good advice here and often conflicting!! No one answer works for everyone. Enjoy your preparations 😊
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
Though I've not done the Camino de Santiago yet (planned for May/June 2022), I am experienced with endurance through hiking. I agree with a lot of the comments here. namely gradually scale up the hikes to train your muscles and be sure to include some elevation training (hills). Losing the excess weight too will go a long way toward making the Camino a lot easier. However I think the above poster hit the nail on the head. In my experience, most folks starting out with endurance hiking do not have the proper footwear to and end up getting blisters which either makes their experience miserable or cuts their experience short.

An observation I've made is that folks tend to purchase footwear that is too small for their feet. They may feel comfortable under normal situations, but your feet swell a lot during long endurance hikes, hence friction and blisters. I always size up 1 full (American) size when purchasing hiking footwear and also do 1 width wider too. I measure 9.5 (left) and 10 (right) in American size shoes. However I always purchase 11 size shoes and with with a wide (2D) cut. I also have a high foot, so I look for lots of loft too.

As far as training goes, I think the most important part of it is that it helps you to figure out your weakest links in your body. Doing this early allows you to develop strategies for coping with them on the trail. For me, my weakest links are plantar fasciitis, an old skiing injury to my left knee, and second toes that are longer than the big toe (called Morton's Toe). Over the years, I have working strategies that allow me to continue doing long mileage hikes. But everyone is different, so figuring out your personal weak links is a very important aspect of training.

If you are an experienced hiker the Camino will be a walk in the park… literally!

The real endurance required for the Camino is listening to hours and hours of identical conversations about blisters. That’s a real trial!
 
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Roland49

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
I am, in fact, preparing for the CP in easter-break 2022.

Just break in shoes, socks and sticks walking 100-150km in total with your kit weight in backpack, beginning with 5k more or less. Doing this in preparation for my CF in 2019 I would not change anything, except that I will walk with sticks this time.

After a few days on the way you will have the strength and physical abilites to walk on.
On my CF in 2019, after leaving Puente de la Reina I walked 43km, never thought that this is possible for me.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
I am, in fact, preparing for the CP in easter-break 2022.

Just break in shoes, socks and sticks walking 100-150km in total with your kit weight in backpack, beginning with 5k more or less. Doing this in preparation for my CF in 2019 I would not change anything, except that I will walk with sticks this time.

After a few days on the way you will have the strength and physical abilites to walk on.
On my CF in 2019, after leaving Puente de la Reina I walked 43km, never thought that this is possible for me.
Roland, after your 43km day, did you pay a penalty?
 

Phoenix

Generic member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I hiked hundreds of miles close to home to prepare for the CF, but I would have been hiking close to home regularly anyway. I had the added benefit of all the training to be above 7,000 ft elevation.

If I were to do it differently, training would be more realistic. I would walk around the outskirts of the city stopping every 3-4 miles for a coffee or beer break, take my shoes off, and chat with the locals for 15-20 minutes at every stop.
 

PlutseligPilegrim

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Past OR future Camino
Francigena Sud
Shikoku 88
St Olav Waterways
How did you prepare physically for your Camino and would you do anything differently.
My take on it……

Find your frame of ability;

Which distance are you comfortable walking without rest or something to eat?

Multiply that distance by two gives you good pointer to average kilometers per day on path.

Multiply that distance by three gives you reach in case of emergency or if you are under preassure.

Test out all gear before departure. Oversize shoes with max cushioning. Custom inlay soles is a sound investment for our poor feet put to much strain.

Bee very cautios the first two weeks, (11-17 days), of early symptoms of any type of discomfort. Change up, make corrections and brake monotony early. Do not wait “until the next village” . Go in your own pace and avoid leaning into other walkers pace to much, even if it’s tempting cause of company.

Feel free to forward other questions. Much obliged to help out.

Ultreia🙏🏼
 
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Roland49

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
Roland, after your 43km day, did you pay a penalty?
Only a little. After the long walk I needed to take some magnesium (two pouches, 400mg each) to prevent cramping. And I was very tired, but got up on 5:30 next morning.

But I was able to walk that distance and was not picked up by the bombeiros between Villamayor and Los Arcos like some other pilgrims that day.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
I hiked hundreds of miles close to home to prepare for the CF, but I would have been hiking close to home regularly anyway. I had the added benefit of all the training to be above 7,000 ft elevation.

If I were to do it differently, training would be more realistic. I would walk around the outskirts of the city stopping every 3-4 miles for a coffee or beer break, take my shoes off, and chat with the locals for 15-20 minutes at every stop.
Isn’t that the truth 😂😂
 

PEI_Heather

Canadian Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
Walk, stretch, and strength train: a good triad of physical fitness.

Start as early as possible and walk as much as possible. Start off with the kms you can do...keep adding on until you can walk without losing your breath or feeling you can't take anymore. Remember, if you head out, you have the same distance to walk back! If there are no hills nearby go stair climbing: an outdoor sports field would have bleachers, bigger buildings would have interior stairs...

After each walk and at other times, do an all over stretching routine, do yoga, and/or tai chi. If you work the same muscles over and over again, they will become overused, weak, and prone to injury.

Incorporate strength training, especially to those muscles and areas that you don't think are 'necessary' to walking: the abs, the shoulders, the neck muscles. Carrying weight for a period of time puts added stress on your body and it's important to make sure the ability for support is there. You don't need to go to a gym and use the weights or machines--your own body weight can give you an excellent workout.

Last but not least, it is vital to drink water, even when you are not thirsty. Eat good food. And give yourself both physical and mental break days; you don't want to burn out from overdoing your preparation for walking on the Camino, or even when you are training. Enjoy your training!
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
As a former athlete and triathlete, my approach definitely includes cross training and weight training.

I’d suggest walking several days a week, building up distance, as others suggest. But I do not believe that the best way to prepare for the Camino is to try to replicate the conditions you will encounter on it or to limit the training exercises to walking. The most important muscles for the Camino are your heart and lungs, and good aerobic fitness is essential. In addition to walking, I suggest also doing some aerobic training that gives your knee, hip, and ankle joints a break. Swimming, cycling, rowing are all non-weight bearing, and Nordic skiing, skating, and the elliptical are all easier on your joints but will help you as much or even more to get fit for walking hundreds of miles. That is the amazing thing about cross training.

As for weight training, I agree that just using body weight is generally fine for the Camino. Do squats, lunges, step ups and calf raises to give you power uphill. Step downs are really helpful for downhills. Absolutely do some push-ups and planks and other core exercises and upper body/arms work with light dumbbells. This will help immensely with carrying your pack. Any weight work that you do will pay off with much faster results than walking up hills or with a loaded pack. You should do that to test your gear, but if your core is nice and strong, you won’t need to “train” it to carry a pack, or at least only minimally. Same with hills. If you have a strong lower body and great aerobic fitness, you’ll be fine on the hills.

Work on your balance to give you stability and prevent falls.

Losing any extra weight that you can and a good pre and post stretching routine will help out a ton.

Some helpful links:
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
How did you prepare physically for your Camino and would you do anything differently.
I didn't prepare for my 1989 Camino specifically, but I was in much better shape then.

Nor did I prepare for by 2016 Camino (remembering the 1989 Camino and considering it unnecessary). I regretted it, getting serious knee issues a few days in and hobbling around the albergues in the evening like a 90 year old man (especially towards the beginning).

I did prepare for my 2018 Camino, doing regular long distance walks of increasing length and frequency with a loaded backpack. When I could walk three 20 km days in a row without issue, I knew I was ready. That Camino there were no knee issues and no hobbling.

Physical preparation is not a necessity. One can complete a Camino without it. I did. But it will certainly cut down on the pain experienced and reduce the likelihood of physical issues. I would recommend it.
 

gcsz

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Hope to walk in June 2022
Though I've not done the Camino de Santiago yet (planned for May/June 2022), I am experienced with endurance through hiking. I agree with a lot of the comments here. namely gradually scale up the hikes to train your muscles and be sure to include some elevation training (hills). Losing the excess weight too will go a long way toward making the Camino a lot easier. However I think the above poster hit the nail on the head. In my experience, most folks starting out with endurance hiking do not have the proper footwear to and end up getting blisters which either makes their experience miserable or cuts their experience short.

An observation I've made is that folks tend to purchase footwear that is too small for their feet. They may feel comfortable under normal situations, but your feet swell a lot during long endurance hikes, hence friction and blisters. I always size up 1 full (American) size when purchasing hiking footwear and also do 1 width wider too. I measure 9.5 (left) and 10 (right) in American size shoes. However I always purchase 11 size shoes and with with a wide (2D) cut. I also have a high foot, so I look for lots of loft too.

As far as training goes, I think the most important part of it is that it helps you to figure out your weakest links in your body. Doing this early allows you to develop strategies for coping with them on the trail. For me, my weakest links are plantar fasciitis, an old skiing injury to my left knee, and second toes that are longer than the big toe (called Morton's Toe). Over the years, I have working strategies that allow me to continue doing long mileage hikes. But everyone is different, so figuring out your personal weak links is a very important aspect of training.
Curious about the shoe sizing....if you get 1 size bigger, how long before your feet swell and then fit? and how do you deal with too big shoes before that?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Curious about the shoe sizing....if you get 1 size bigger, how long before your feet swell and then fit? and how do you deal with too big shoes before that?
They shouldn't be so much bigger that your feet are swimming in them. You should try on shoes at the end of the day - preferably a day that you have been on your feet or walking a lot.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
They shouldn't be so much bigger that your feet are swimming in them. You should try on shoes at the end of the day - preferably a day that you have been on your feet or walking a lot.
I »m really valuing the advice I saw here recently from one of the moderators (I think) — which said that going *wider* in the same length of shoe is likely wiser whenever possible. By going wider, one does not alter the structural supports in the last and in the vamp that are specific to length.
Makes good sense and answers the strange phenomenon of my having sized *down* half a size from my dress shoes, but into a much wider shoe.
As a reference:
my dress shoes are typically size 7, Stuart Weitzman, Donald Pliner, or Cole Haan.
My favourite boots are Keens in 6.5, shoes Altra Lone Peak (any series) in 6.5 and I’ve lost track of the amount of kilometers on the shoes and boots individually but I walk about 3000 km per year in an average (Non Camino) year. I leave my dress shoes in the office.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I »m really valuing the advice I saw here recently from one of the moderators (I think) — which said that going *wider* in the same length of shoe is likely wiser whenever possible. By going wider, one does not alter the structural supports in the last and in the vamp that are specific to length.
That might have been me. I am a crusader for more Wide shoes for women.
Curious about the shoe sizing....if you get 1 size bigger, how long before your feet swell and then fit? and how do you deal with too big shoes before that?
The recommendation to get a size or more larger than "normal" is not very helpful. Surely it depends on your foot's peculiarities and what type of fit you "normally" wear.

You don't want a shoe that flops around on your foot. You need to be able to get good stability on your foot, perhaps by using a lacing technique that locks your foot in so the heel doesn't go up and down. It does not make sense to have a shoe that is two inches too long, since you would have excess shoe at the front of your foot, to trip over. If your shoe comes in a wider width, it makes more sense to move to the wider one. (But manufacturers don't bother to make many widths.)

For walking, I wear the largest shoe that I can lace up to fit snugly around the instep. I need to use a lacing-lock technique for it, but my fore foot is happy to have tons of room. I measure about 6.5 or 7, but used to wear a 7.5 for the general comfort and width, getting a "Wide" when possible. One time they were out of the Wide in my size so I tried an 8W. I had to use a heel-lock lacing technique, but to my mild surprise, the shoe has been fine and I've bought another pair in that size. Any larger would definitely be TOO big.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Rather than worry about size so much you can try hiking sandals! They are my preferred footwear for the Camino.
 

rlm

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Only one thing I wish I did was to spend time walking on rocky and stony surfaces.
I definitely agree with this and did not anticipate that so much of the early Camino would be gravel roads. I think it euphemistically being called a path threw me off there. I trained distance on nice forest paths and my treadmill and found the gravel roads to be very difficult on long days. I know I’m an exception but walking in the roads and in cities when those miles came in felt like such a relief to me. If I had to do over again, I would definitely do some training on those types of services as well as try my shoes out on those. My feet made it through OK but felt quite bruised after the gravel so I’m not sure I would change my shoes but I definitely regretted not making sure they were the best gravel choice.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I definitely agree with this and did not anticipate that so much of the early Camino would be gravel roads. I think it euphemistically being called a path threw me off there. I trained distance on nice forest paths
Nice forest paths are so rare on the Camino that I got very excited when I encountered one!
 
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walkinglover

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, '16 and '18; Portuguese '17; Ingles - 19
How did you prepare physically for your Camino and would you do anything differently.
Walk, walk, walk. My husband, age 70, runs about 50 miles a week with a 22 mile run every Saturday. He recently did the Frances again. He has done the Norte, Frances 3x, Portuguese, and Ingles. He said, "Crossing the Pyrenes was hard." His disclaimer was that he didn't do enough walking prior to this last trek. Depending on your age, of course, there is no substitute for training to walk for hours at a time.
 

CA_Pilgrim

Member
Past OR future Camino
El Camino Real de California
Camino Frances (2017)
They shouldn't be so much bigger that your feet are swimming in them. You should try on shoes at the end of the day - preferably a day that you have been on your feet or walking a lot.
I find 1 size larger does not lead to a sloppy fit at any time during the day. However, if I only go 1/2 size larger, they tend to be too tight at the end of the day. I tired this recently when I forgot my hiking shoes at home on a vacation to Tahoe where we planed lots of elevation hiking. The shoe store only had Mohabs (my favorite hiking shoe) in 10.5 wide, not 11 wide as I normally buy. My second toe on both feet took a beating on the downhill hikes.

Circling back to the original comment, the bottom line is that it is advisable that as part of your prep work that you use it as an opportunity to shake down your shoes, equipment, and figure out your weakest body parts to develop a strategy for coping with them on the Camino.

I'm currently working on figuring out how to cope with an old skiing injury to my left knee which seems to be bothering me more and more on long hikes. I've gone through several knee braces that work, but they tend to irritate my skin after about 6 miles. Anti-friction cream seems to help somewhat. I think I need to apply it more liberally.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
I find 1 size larger does not lead to a sloppy fit at any time during the day. However, if I only go 1/2 size larger, they tend to be too tight at the end of the day. I tired this recently when I forgot my hiking shoes at home on a vacation to Tahoe where we planed lots of elevation hiking. The shoe store only had Mohabs (my favorite hiking shoe) in 10.5 wide, not 11 wide as I normally buy. My second toe on both feet took a beating on the downhill hikes.

Circling back to the original comment, the bottom line is that it is advisable that as part of your prep work that you use it as an opportunity to shake down your shoes, equipment, and figure out your weakest body parts to develop a strategy for coping with them on the Camino.

I'm currently working on figuring out how to cope with an old skiing injury to my left knee which seems to be bothering me more and more on long hikes. I've gone through several knee braces that work, but they tend to irritate my skin after about 6 miles. Anti-friction cream seems to help somewhat. I think I need to apply it more liberally.
100% endorse the 1 size up view.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Increasing fitness in preparation for Camino is a positive thing to do, but you need to be deliberate about how you proceed. You have enough time to make a significant increase from where you are now, without frantically pushing yourself too hard and beyond your body's ability to recuperate from each exercise session. That same deliberation will help prevent injury as well. Be consistent and patient. If you would like other more specific guidelines and suggestions, send me a PM. :)

This is something I had posted a while back.

As to training, there are really two different parts to focus on:
1. Cardiovascular fitness.
2. Muscle strengthening.

Cardiovascular fitness is the ability for your heart and lungs to supply oxygenated blood to your muscles during exercise under load, and your muscles ability to use that oxygen efficiently so they can produce energy.

Exercises should be used which will allow you to hit a target heart rate zone, over a for a period of time during exercising, which provides the needed aerobic effort for conditioning. This is a website which will help you calculate what your target heart rate zones will be.

https://www.lifespanfitness.com/fitness/resources/target-heart-rate-calculator

Treadmills at incline, running, walking at a faster than normal pace, walking up hills, rowing machines, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, riding a bicycle at a faster than normal pace, swimming, etc. are all examples of effective aerobic exercises when used to achieve target heart rates.

Keep in mind that as your fitness level improves, it will take a more sustained effort to hit the same heart rate zones. That is why using target zones is so effective. They don't change relative to fitness level. Someone extremely out of shape does not exercise as hard as someone who is extremely fit to reach their target.

Muscle strength is a function of how much maximum force your muscles can exert against resistance. Exercises for strength will also provide a temporary aerobic effect, but the main goal is to increase your capability to function while under resistance.

Think about having to lift the weight of your body, with a pack, with each step going up the Pyrenees. Or being able to lift and carry a load. Or the constant resistance of your body weight and pack to your shoulders and to the 'core' muscles in your back and abdomen.

Some basic strengthening exercises for home include push-ups, lunges, squats and planks. A google search will show you the way to do these exercises.

Other conditioning issues involve things like ankles, feet, and flexibility. Do a search on this forum for posts about exercises to help prevent shin splints and to help prevent plantars fasciitis.

As your departure date nears and you've been involved in your fitness regimen for the next 10 weeks or so, rather than your routine exercise schedule, put on the clothing and footwear you will be using on Camino, load up your pack, and spend the next several days in a row walking. See how you feel and at what pace you are able to best sustain yourself. That will give you a baseline estimate to calculate logistical issues surrounding the question of how many days it may take to walk your Camino.

More than anything else, enjoy the entire process of getting ready for Camino. Write down your reasons for doing your camino: list your personal goals for doing Camino, and what type of experience you are hoping for. If you become discouraged with your preparations, or feel anxious and overwhelmed, or get a bit of cold feet about leaving home for the camino, or simply to refresh your resolve anew, review what you have written to yourself.
 
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meazara

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I definitely agree with this and did not anticipate that so much of the early Camino would be gravel roads. I think it euphemistically being called a path threw me off there. I trained distance on nice forest paths and my treadmill and found the gravel roads to be very difficult on long days. I know I’m an exception but walking in the roads and in cities when those miles came in felt like such a relief to me. If I had to do over again, I would definitely do some training on those types of services as well as try my shoes out on those. My feet made it through OK but felt quite bruised after the gravel so I’m not sure I would change my shoes but I definitely regretted not making sure they were the best gravel choice.
I developed pretty bad tendonitis in one foot which will take time to heal, but I walked to the bitter end with it, definitely an injury that was avoidable. I wish more attention was drawn to this in guided etc, I just might have seen.
 
F

Former member 98859

Guest
In addition to the excellent suggestions above, I would suggest establishing a brief on-the-camino exercise routine beyond the trekking. Whatever you enjoy and will continue doing such as morning and evening stretching, using light exercise bands for a strength/toning workout (great for tying things to your pack!), etc.

Ideally, you focus on what you're not doing while trekking so you can maintain overall fitness and flexibility and not hurt yourself doing something silly like climbing into a third level bunk or helping someone put on a pack. Doesn't have to take long, maybe 10 minutes/day, but thinking it out and practicing it before starting will make it that much easier to continue.
 

1spiritedmom

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Only one thing I wish I did was to spend time walking on rocky and stony surfaces.
The (constant and often rolling) rocks were a real killer for me - thank-you for mentioning this. I would absolutely agree that some kind of practice that involves walking up and down rocky hills would be very helpful!
 

Damico Walking

Porto Coastal Spring 2022 Baby!
Past OR future Camino
2022
Although my camino was delayed from early May 2020, flights cancelled and the rest is history. We did train, and are training again for our next attempt April 2022. Aside from long walks, treadmill, elliptical, biking, etc. all of which get your legs in condition we added a 'test walk' to our regimen which we are doing again. about 4 months before departure we took a week, advantage of retirement, to a location that had similar weather and temperature to our planned route will be in April/May. Brought our backpacks and all camino gear. We walked about 10 miles daily in full gear. Practiced the daily ritual of washing clothes in the sink, repacking the pack, cleaning and refilling water bladders, etc. and boy did we learn alot!.

First the daunting component was not the distance but the distance walking daily for a week. That was much harder than walking potentially longer walks every other day. Second, was being able to test the sock/shoe combination under "real" camino conditions. I changed my sock choice which seems to be working better for me now. Overall it was a great experiment that we will repeat in just another 2 months.

Whatever you do be comfortable and remember, you only need to take one more step.
 

Theresa Brandon

Artist, photographer, dreamer
Past OR future Camino
Camino Inglés (2018), Camino Ingles (from La Coruña, 2019), Camino Portugues (2020)
we added a 'test walk' to our regimen which we are doing again. about 4 months before departure we took a week... to a location that had similar weather and temperature to our planned route will be in April/May.
I did something similar this fall with my future travel companions, who haven't done a Camino before. Besides being a test of gear and shoes, it was also a good test of compatibility, mutual walking speeds and companionship.
 
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Damico Walking

Porto Coastal Spring 2022 Baby!
Past OR future Camino
2022
I did something similar this fall with my future travel companions, who haven't done a Camino before. Besides being a test of gear and shoes, it was also a good test of compatibility, mutual walking speeds and companionship.
I'm walking with my wife, after 46 years I think we may have it figured out. Oh and earbuds help 😉
 

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