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Too ambitious?

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James2019

James McCosh
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sep/Oct/Nov 2019
I will be 77 a few days in to my proposed CF from the end of September. I have allowed 43 days so an average of 18.5 Km per day. In my training I have yet to manage as much as that, but my training schedule should get me to 22Km(once) before I fly out. As I have never before been fit it's very daunting, but with occasional pack forwarding I should make it.

But am I being too ambitious?
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
You'll never know until you try.

Start slowly, aim to begin with fewer kms and do use pack forwarding services if you feel the need, especially when there's a steep / tough day ahead.
 

NYSE

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
I met two 79 year olds while walking CF this spring. Both seemed to be doing very well. I also met a 75 year old who ended up quitting. His bag weighed over 25 pounds! I would suggest no more than 14 pounds, buy a pair of good trekking poles and start off slowly. With a strong desire to do it, you'll do it. Best of luck. Buen Camino!
 

Dorpie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Hi @James2019

Congratulations on biting the bullet and taking on new things, even in late middle age!

Doing 18km a day can seem daunting but when you consider that even by mid october you still have 11 hours of daylight that means all you need to average is 1.5km/h! And if you do find yourself struggling there's no shame given your circumstances in forwarding your pack to make the more challenging days a little easier.

I suppose as always the advice is hope for the best but prepare for the worst which in this case means always having a taxi number handy.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
@James2019 some of my best days on the Camino were zero, nero, or short days ... just sayin'! 🤣 😂

Pickup sometime with a bus if needed. You can shorten your approach to into a city like the stage from San Juan de Ortega to Burgos around the airport, or into / out of Leon, etc. to make up some time if needed.

¡Buena suerte!👣:D:cool:
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
You have been given much good advice already, but I'll repeat...

Little by little... peu à peu...poco a poco....take it easy.

Many walk too far too early and get blisters, tendonitis, and sore knees. Walking day after day compounds the problem. Just let your Camino come to you in terms of a comfortable distance for each day.

Finally, since you live in the UK, if you fall short of walking the entire distance, just allow yourself the pleasure of coming back the next year and finishing up. Maybe to Finisterre. You're much closer to Spain than a lot of other forum members.

I'm 75 and I prefer around 20 kms per day. And I now transport my backpack.
 

Stroller

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
As those above have already said take it slow particularly at first.

The worst days are from SJPP to say Zubiri so you could skip them and start from Pamplona as it's easy get to, or if you want to see a bit of the Pyrenees, walk from SJPP to Valcarlos, taxi back and take a bus to Pamplona.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I will be 77 a few days in to my proposed CF from the end of September. I have allowed 43 days so an average of 18.5 Km per day. In my training I have yet to manage as much as that, but my training schedule should get me to 22Km(once) before I fly out. As I have never before been fit it's very daunting, but with occasional pack forwarding I should make it.

But am I being too ambitious?
If you have never managed that, I can see the reason for the concern, but you still have a fair amount of time and you seem to have a training schedule that will get you there. How are you doing with your schedule? Are you having challenges keeping up with it? I notice that you said that your training schedule gets you to 22 km - once. Many find that the big challenge isn't so much the distance but the day after day nature of it. I would see if your training schedule can manage 15+ km three days in a row. If you can manage that, it should give you more confidence.

That said, I always advise everyone to book more time than they think it could possibly take of they can. If you can't get that much time away from other commitments, as much time as possible and maybe plan a slightly shorter Camino. That allows for the possibility that a health condition requires a few days rest on the way and ensures that you aren't racing to Santiago to catch a flight.
 

bikerkvw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Inglish, Camino de la Plata. Future Camino Francis
I will be 77 a few days in to my proposed CF from the end of September. I have allowed 43 days so an average of 18.5 Km per day. In my training I have yet to manage as much as that, but my training schedule should get me to 22Km(once) before I fly out. As I have never before been fit it's very daunting, but with occasional pack forwarding I should make it.

But am I being too ambitious?
I am 69 and training by walking each and every day I can. I began with 2 miles and now am up to 4 miles. My goal it to be able to walk for 10-15 km or 9-10 miles two days in a row. I have over 3 weeks before I leave. I know I will be fine as I am building confidence as well as stamina. Buen Camino and do follow the advice of begin slowly. My first two days are about 12 km per day. The first week I am going to keep it under 15-18 kms per day. We will both be in better shape than most pilgrims beginning their hike.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (2019) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
As those above have already said take it slow particularly at first.
The worst days are from SJPP to say Zubiri so you could skip them and start from Pamplona as it's easy get to, or if you want to see a bit of the Pyrenees, walk from SJPP to Valcarlos, taxi back and take a bus to Pamplona.
That’s just what I was going to say...Walk short days until you feel stronger, and start in Pamplona - although your first day is over Alto de Perdon, a long climb and a challenging rocky descent. Logrono is a good starting place with access by train and nice short days to begin - to Navarrete and then Azofra with easy terrain.
 

sugargypsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First one planned for May 2019: Camino Francés
But am I being too ambitious?
I asked myself the same question in April this year, started walking May 22nd. I arrived in Santiago, it was not always easy but I made it.

The one thing I underestimated were the conditions of the paths in Spain compared to home which slowed me down more than I'd expected. Instead of walking 4 km an hour I often walked only 3. Also next time I'm going to make sure there will be more training uphill included ;).

So maybe bear that in mind then you won't be taken by surprise like me. Because of that I was the first days often walking more like 6 or 7 hours, not the expected 5 to 6 which was quite tiring to begin with.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Burgos-SdC (May-June 2016); CF, SJPDP-SdC (April-June 2018); Norte (June-July 2019)
Lots of good advice here. Just want to offer you encouragement by saying my husband and I walked the Frances last year and the Norte this year. He will be 78 in 2 months. We averaged about 20-22 km a day, with 32 km as our longest day this year, and a couple of rest days built into each Camino. So your plan of 18.5 km a day sounds very doable.

Enjoy your planning, and buen camino!
 

judy jackstadt

Texas Judy
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
Spring 2019
I’m 71 and just finished my second Camino Frances this year. I carried my 18 pound pack all the way, but I stop for café con leche in almost every village. It’s my reward. I averaged about 20 km per day after the first week. Just take care of your feet and drink lots of water. Good for you for doing this. Buen Camino and buena suerte!
 

Pilgy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés April 06, C. Fisterre May 06, C. Frances Oct 17, C. Portuguese Oct 18, C. Inglese Nov 18
I’m 71 and just finished my second Camino Frances this year. I carried my 18 pound pack all the way, but I stop for café con leche in almost every village. It’s my reward. I averaged about 20 km per day after the first week. Just take care of your feet and drink lots of water. Good for you for doing this. Buen Camino and buena suerte!
Judy, so glad that someone else stops for a cafe con leche at every village!!!!!
 

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)
start in Pamplona - although your first day is over Alto de Perdon, a long climb and a challenging rocky descent.
Wherever you start, you do not have to go over the Alto de Perdon on the day that you leave Pamplona. I walked from Pamplona to Zariquiegui on my first camino, staying in one of the albegues there near the top of the climb, to go over the Alto de Perdon and on to Puente la Reina the next day. That is what worked for me. I was 67 at the time and did most of my getting into shape during the early stages of the walk, by not pushing myself but just keeping going at my own pace.
 

Stroller

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
There is a bar on the right in Zariquiegui with a dormitory above which is family run. I had an amazing chicken noodle soup there which I believe came from the garden via grandma when I ordered it. On second thoughts to be that good grandma must have been cooking it for a while, but the salad was fresh.

If you stay beware the stairs they are deadly when you are wearing socks but no shoes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (2019) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
I will be 77 a few days in to my proposed CF from the end of September. I have allowed 43 days so an average of 18.5 Km per day. In my training I have yet to manage as much as that, but my training schedule should get me to 22Km(once) before I fly out. As I have never before been fit it's very daunting, but with occasional pack forwarding I should make it.

But am I being too ambitious?
The first time I walked the Camino Frances, I was afraid that I was not fit enough, but I found very quickly that I didn't have to walk 20 or 25k in one go...the day was broken up quite nicely with a breakfast stop, coffee stop, lunch stop, lemonade stop, then we were at the albergue with a beer after showers and 'tomorrow's clothes,' awaiting dinner....and then bed. The daily routines were the same, but the towns and the landscape were ever-changing. Every day was busy so the km's went much faster than I had expected--and I was fine. I bet you will be, too.
 

James2019

James McCosh
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sep/Oct/Nov 2019
You have been given much good advice already, but I'll repeat...

Little by little... peu à peu...poco a poco....take it easy.

Many walk too far too early and get blisters, tendonitis, and sore knees. Walking day after day compounds the problem. Just let your Camino come to you in terms of a comfortable distance for each day.

Finally, since you live in the UK, if you fall short of walking the entire distance, just allow yourself the pleasure of coming back the next year and finishing up. Maybe to Finisterre. You're much closer to Spain than a lot of other forum members.

I'm 75 and I prefer around 20 kms per day. And I now transport my backpack.
Thank you. I have reconciled myself to be realistic about breaking off early if necessary.
 

James2019

James McCosh
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sep/Oct/Nov 2019
Thank you. I have reconciled myself to be realistic about breaking off early if necessary.
Thanks to all of you. There is a wealth of good advice in your replies and I have taken heart.
I will now abandon the hair shirt and make life as easy as possible! I want to complete my Camino in the time I have, but enjoy it too. So I will start in Pamplona and forward my pack frequently. It may be that if I can't finish in time I can return next Spring. In any case, I still have a few weeks to see how far I can walk in a day which will guide me in planning stages.
Thank you all very much.
 

Walk On

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2017)
Future: 2019
Thanks to all of you. There is a wealth of good advice in your replies and I have taken heart.
I will now abandon the hair shirt and make life as easy as possible! I want to complete my Camino in the time I have, but enjoy it too. So I will start in Pamplona and forward my pack frequently. It may be that if I can't finish in time I can return next Spring. In any case, I still have a few weeks to see how far I can walk in a day which will guide me in planning stages.
Thank you all very much.
Best wishes to you, James. I, too, was a 'Senior' when I walked my Camino. I thought I would offer a piece of advice in an area not related to daily walking distances that may be helpful.

Several weeks prior to your trip, pack your backpack exactly and in detail as if you were on your walk. Then, for a week or so, live out of your pack (not actually wear the clothes, etc., just simulate the packing and unpacking). Practice finding your toiletries and sundries, unroll and repack your sleeping bag---those sorts of things that seem so elementary to everyday life on your walk.
At my somewhat advanced age, I found it difficult to get into any type of repeatable and comfortable routine in albegues without that pre-trip practice.
 

James2019

James McCosh
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sep/Oct/Nov 2019
Best wishes to you, James. I, too, was a 'Senior' when I walked my Camino. I thought I would offer a piece of advice in an area not related to daily walking distances that may be helpful.

Several weeks prior to your trip, pack your backpack exactly and in detail as if you were on your walk. Then, for a week or so, live out of your pack (not actually wear the clothes, etc., just simulate the packing and unpacking). Practice finding your toiletries and sundries, unroll and repack your sleeping bag---those sorts of things that seem so elementary to everyday life on your walk.
At my somewhat advanced age, I found it difficult to get into any type of repeatable and comfortable routine in albegues without that pre-trip practice.
Thank you too!
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
As others have stated, when you get there, listen to your body, ease into the camino, walk at your comfortable pace and not someone else's pace. Take lots of breaks, take VERY good care of your feet during the day and after arriving at your accommodation.

Training: walking on flat land without your backpack is good for building confidence but walking hills with your back pack loaded is great for building leg muscles, cardiovascular and toughening up your feet.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Best wishes to you, James. I, too, was a 'Senior' when I walked my Camino. I thought I would offer a piece of advice in an area not related to daily walking distances that may be helpful.

Several weeks prior to your trip, pack your backpack exactly and in detail as if you were on your walk. Then, for a week or so, live out of your pack (not actually wear the clothes, etc., just simulate the packing and unpacking). Practice finding your toiletries and sundries, unroll and repack your sleeping bag---those sorts of things that seem so elementary to everyday life on your walk.
At my somewhat advanced age, I found it difficult to get into any type of repeatable and comfortable routine in albegues without that pre-trip practice.
This is excellent advice! 😊 I'm speaking hypothetically, of course. 😂
 

Caligal

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 4- May 12, 2018
CP April 2019
Wherever you start, you do not have to go over the Alto de Perdon on the day that you leave Pamplona. I walked from Pamplona to Zariquiegui on my first camino, staying in one of the albegues there near the top of the climb, to go over the Alto de Perdon and on to Puente la Reina the next day. That is what worked for me. I was 67 at the time and did most of my getting into shape during the early stages of the walk, by not pushing myself but just keeping going at my own pace.
I walked the same as Albertagirl, Pamplona to Zariquiegui day one then onto Puente la Reina the next day that worked well for me also. Taking it easy in the beginning then an amazing thing starts to happen, after a couple weeks the kms fly by and I found myself walking much further than I thought I was capable of. I wish you a very Buen Camino!!
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
Several weeks prior to your trip, pack your backpack exactly and in detail as if you were on your walk. Then, for a week or so, live out of your pack (not actually wear the clothes, etc., just simulate the packing and unpacking). Practice finding your toiletries and sundries, unroll and repack your sleeping bag---those sorts of things that seem so elementary to everyday life on your walk.
At my somewhat advanced age, I found it difficult to get into any type of repeatable and comfortable routine in albegues without that pre-trip practice.
This is something I did not at all anticipate. It seems silly now but while on the camino it was the only source of stress for me during those first couple weeks. No matter how I packed my backpack, it was difficult to remove only the things I needed from my back pack upon arrival at an albergue. Eventually I realized it was best to just remove everything from my pack on to the bed and when repacking, just shove it all back in without any oder. I did keep my rain jacket and rain cover for my pack on top or attached to the outside of the back pack to access quickly.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Wherever you start, you do not have to go over the Alto de Perdon on the day that you leave Pamplona. I walked from Pamplona to Zariquiegui on my first camino, staying in one of the albegues there near the top of the climb, to go over the Alto de Perdon and on to Puente la Reina the next day. That is what worked for me. I was 67 at the time and did most of my getting into shape during the early stages of the walk, by not pushing myself but just keeping going at my own pace.
I also stayed at Zariquiegui on my last Camino Frances. We had done no training so were looking to do a few shorter days near the beginning. As well, we were passing through Pamplona during the San Fermin fistival and didn't want to count on getting beds there. So we walked from Zubiri to Trinidad de Arres (about 15 km), then from Trinidad de Arres to Zariquiegui (15 km), and then from Zariquiegui to Puente la Reina with a side trip through Eunate (15 km with the side trip). After that we started walking longer days.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
@james. - - - - You are not too ambitious !...................You are inspiring !

Buen Camino !
 

bikerkvw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Inglish, Camino de la Plata. Future Camino Francis
I am 69 and training by walking each and every day I can. I began with 2 miles and now am up to 4 miles. My goal it to be able to walk for 10-15 km or 9-10 miles two days in a row. I have over 3 weeks before I leave. I know I will be fine as I am building confidence as well as stamina. Buen Camino and do follow the advice of begin slowly. My first two days are about 12 km per day. The first week I am going to keep it under 15-18 kms per day. We will both be in better shape than most pilgrims beginning their hike.
I am 69 also and leave for my Camino in 16 days. I have been walking every day I can and usually walk 3-5 miles. Once I did 6 miles. My first two days are like your as is the first week. The body is made for walking and I am going slow. Buen Camino to you.
 

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