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I am walking the Camino as a part of a Sabbatical from my work. I will have about a month of Sabbatical time prior to my trip and I'm thinking about what I might do in the month just before the walk as a way to prepare. I am walking some now and plan to walk even more at the start of the Sabbatical. I'm in the midst of packing and such as well. (getting excited is what!)

I'd love to hear stories of what people have done just prior to the journey in the past. What worked well, what was a mistake made. What you wished you had done differently.

For my part, when I made the trip in 2001 I did not spend any days walking the full distances I would be walking on the Camino and I thought that was a mistake. I did spend a good deal of time reading prior to the trip and that provided a richness to the places I later encountered. I packed too much last time, and I hated the top-loading pack I carried.



Active Member
frmikeminn said:
I'd love to hear stories of what people have done just prior to the journey in the past. What worked well, what was a mistake made. What you wished you had done differently.

Before beginning the Camino, I spent 3 days in Bordeaux, a day in Bayonne, and a day in St. Jean. I enjoyed those days of mental, emotional, and physical preparation, as they allowed me to get psyched up and purchase last-minute gear.

I had considered starting in Bordeaux, but it soon became apparent that it wouldn't work out with my timetable due to the distance (plus I didn't have a good guidebook for that section, and I didn't want to get lost or messed up). Bayonne and St. Jean were both nice towns to spend a day in. I like France, and I had a couple of good meals, wines, and stogies.

Dunno if I would've done anything differently (besides train more beforehand, and bring less stuff with from home). It all worked out pretty well in the end... :arrow:


frmikeminn said:
those in the class of 08 want to weigh in on last month planning you are currently working on?

I've been riding my bike to work 2 or 3 times a week - about a 25km return journey, I'm finding it good for building up my leg muscles and general fitness.

I'm extremely busy at work at the moment (working long hours and most weekends) so I haven't been able to walk as much as I want. When I do walk I generally wear my Camino gear, take my backpack with at least 8kg in it. I have done a few 10-15km walks without too much difficulty, been tired at the end of it but not totally exhausted, have thought that with an hour or so rest I could get up and walk a bit further, maybe not another 10-15km but probably 5 or so.

I'm doing a small amount of yoga most days - back strengthening, leg stretches (my calves are very tight), twists, salute to the sun - just to get my body in slightly better condition and a bit stronger all round.

I work in a building with 4 floors so I try to walk up the stairs twice a day - I seem to forget to do this though!! But when I do its a good aerobic and leg workout.

Once my work dies down (after this weekend) I am going to ramp up my walking, at least every weekend a good long walk each day. I also plan to do some gym based exercise - boxing and weights perhaps.

When I reach the Camino I plan to walk short distances for the first 2 or 3 days (around 15km each day), then start to increase as I get used to walking and over jet lag.

I start my Camino on 25 April.

hope that helps - I suspect I'm not doing as much as I should do right now, but I really don't have a lot of spare time so I have to find inventive ways of keeping my fitness level up.

In terms of mental preparation I try to analyse those anxiety dreams I have and look at what I am scared of. I've travelled to Europe before, though not Spain, so am not too concerned about that aspect of things. As Sil says on her blog its the 'Camino demon' that seems to be sitting on my shoulder whispering nasty things like "are you mad - you can't do this" - I see these as just anxiety and perhaps an early warning to get fit! I am excited and apprehensive at the same time.

I figure if I can get my body into reasonable shape I will be better prepared to handle mental doubts or difficult emotions as they arise - at least I will know that I can physically get up each morning and walk. And if I try to predict some of the negative thoughts I might have (like on the first night thinking "what the hell have I done - I've got weeks of this") then they won't be such a shock to me.

I think its a challenge to understand where your fears are coming from and figure out why you behave the way you do - that's a big reason for me to embark on the Camino. I know my Camino has already begun with all the emotions its already throwing up at me.

Good luck with your prep evryone.


Rose Louise

We are certainly not overtraining. Walking, with and without pack, cycling and grape picking (stretching, bending, carrying - it’s vintage time in Oz). Walking is such a peaceful experience –time to think, reflect and be at one with yourself.

Knocked off one of those “Camino demons” last week. Overcame a fear of riding over a rickety river crossing bridge. Until then I was not mentally prepared for the uneven boards that slewed the bike around. Last Sunday I decided it was time to have a go. On reaching the other side I said to my partner, if I can overcome my fear of riding on the rough boards I can walk my camino. The sense of achievement was unbelievable - while it sounds trivial it was a huge personal hurdle to overcome

The camino has been permeating my being for nearly eleven months and the sense of community whether perceived or real is something else. I think it is the depth of the experience and the historical significance that is enhancing my anticipation of the Camino Portugues. Bring on our beginning day in a couple of month’s time.

Thank you Ivar and all the regular posters for providing such wonderful advice that will lighten our load both physically and mentally. Best wishes to all those preparing to tread the way now and in the future.



Well, today is March 1st and I leave on the 25th!!! The last few months have gone by so quickly and now here I am, less than a month away. As far as my preparation goes, I walk my dog almost everyday for a few miles. A few times a week I take the dog home and continue on my own for a few more miles ( he slows me down with all the stopping and sniffing etc) :) . On the weekends I try to walk longer, about 10 miles each day. I break it up if I don't have the time to walk it all in one stretch.
I'm trying to get my backpack to weigh a little less. It's about 17 lbs right now and I want to get it to about 14. I wear it around the house all the time; while I'm cooking, cleaning etc. to get used to the extra weight on my back.
I've been doing a lot of reading and just last night I started to really look at my guide book.
This afternoon I'm going to a meditation class with my sister. I've been so caught up with the physical preparation, but now it's time to change gears and start to really focus on the mental and spiritual aspects of my journey.
Best wishes,


Today I got out the slides I took in 2001. I'll be looking at them with my daughter who will be traveling with me. I'm getting a slide show together to show to members of my Episcopal congregation in a couple of weeks just before my sabbatical begins. I also have a friend who is thinking of walking the Camino soon and he has invited me to dinner to show some slides. I'm also planning to set up a blog for the church.. haven't done that yet. The slides bring back the experience in rich detail...


New Member

"I wear it around the house all the time; while I'm cooking, cleaning etc."

Haha... Really ?

Good luck with your Camino.

I'm flying to Madrid tomorrow, catching a train to Burgos and have 3 weeks to make it to S.C.
Crossing my fingers for nice weather... Not easy getting the weight down as I need warm clothing,
but looks like I'm around 12-13 pounds !!


Wow, I'm impressed with your pack weighing so little, especially with having to bring the extra clothing!! That's where I'm having the most trouble. Even though I made a point to buy light weight items, it's the clothing that seems to weigh the most. Best wished to you for a buen camino.


Active Member
My preparations were minimal, I'm saddened to say. I run most of the time, so my fitness levels aren't too bad, but that doesn't prepare you for long distance walks, sadly.

walking everyday over a period of a month, meant that I was aching quite a bit after the first few days, but soon got into the rythm of it, as all I needed to do was get my muscles used to hour after hour of bashing! I'm not too sure if my knees wouldn't ache so much had I trained to some degree beforehand, but I was, on the whole, fine for the duration of my Caminos.

Buen Camino.


"A pilgrim is a wanderer with purpose."

What a gift it is to wake each day on the camino and know that you have but one job. To walk. To reach a destination, perhaps not even the one you intended.


Active Member
Indeed. I think that's why it's such a wonderful thing to do. Sure, it's hard at times, sometimes it feels remarkably easy, but for me, it's the cleansing of the mind/soul that makes it so... well... You know what I mean.


New Member
I have my sabbatical time from August till end of December.. Walking a part of camino is one of the ways to spend it. I think camino de Frances is my route- from Leon /Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.
However, here is a big But: Preparations can´t really start if the decision is not made; I´m doing a lot of thinking , surfing in the net, reading messages on the board during the evenings but can´t get forward with it.
I might be able to do it, in theory at least. I walk a little already, I have summer holidays to continue practising. The best time for me is to start at the end of August and take 15-20 days for the walking.
I could fly from Helsinki to Barcelona and take a bus to Leon. I have checked for the flights many times.
So, everyone must "count the costs" and then you are free to go? tuulis


New Member
Thanks for a tip; hadn´t ever noticed Valladolid, Spain. Could be even cheaper from north, via London.
So to be continued to check... tuulis :roll:


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