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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Training for the Camino

#1
I want to get people's opinions about our training plan for the Camino.

My husband and I will be walking from Leon to Santiago in June, so while June feels like ages away since it is still winter time, but it will be here before we know it, so we are getting serious about training. Fortunately we have pretty good weather here (California - we are actually in a drought, so rain is not impacting our ability to go outside and walk these days). We are in decent shape already, but not triathlon-fit or anything. We have desk jobs, so that works against us. We walk on a regular basis, bike around town (our favorite breakfast spot is a 45 minute bike ride from our house), try to get in a hike at least once a month, workout reasonably regularly. Two summers ago we trained for a fairly strenuous day hike in the Sierras, which had about a 2000 foot elevation gain over about 4 miles. It was a challenge, but we made it. I think we are in decent shape to do the Camino, but that we need to step it up in the coming months to increase our level of fitness and to condition ourselves for the long walking on consecutive days. That is a different kind of stress on the body than 1 strenuous day hike followed by a day of lounging around.

PLUS - we are walking the Camino in celebration of my 40th birthday, which is kind of a biggie and I want to make sure I start my 40s off on the right foot (sorry for the bad pun).

For our Camino training/conditioning, I think the challenge for us is to just find enough time for it around work and everything else. Regularly taking big chunks of the weekend to go walking is hard to manage - to get the distance and to walk on subsequent days to condition our bodies for that on the Camino.

So this is the plan that I made for the next 4 months:
* 3 longish walks per month: 5 to 12 miles each
* 1 hiking weekend per month: 5+ mile walk on Friday evening, 8+ mile hike on Saturday with packs, 5+ mile hike on Sunday with packs
* 3 hours per week for other workouts - pilates, yoga, elliptical, weights, core work, etc.
* Bike rides as we can fit them in - maybe 1 or 2 per month

What do you guys think?
 
#2
Hello November Moon,
I'm walking in my 50th year.... And starting in Leon Early July. I'm new to the Camino but have started walking daily with my poles and backpack. I've bought 7 kg of rice in seven separate packets and I'm building up slowly to the weight that I need to be able to carry. Every chance I get I'm putting on a pack.
Once a week I'm walking 10 kilometres and once a month I'm hiking.
At night time I sit on the floor and stretch. This seems to be an important part of the training.
Getting the shoes right also seems to be important. My toes 'split' after the first two weeks and my ankles ached as if I'd sprained something after the first month.... And I'm a walker.
I'll be very interested in any comments made here.
Buen Camino
Kayci
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#3
250,000 people finished the Camino and recieved their Compostela document last year. Do you really think every one of those people were seasoned atheletes? Great hikers? Accomplished climbers? Absolutely not! I finished my first Camino at the age of 63, a certified couch potato with no long distance walking experience, readiness, or as I then thought capability at all. The Compostela is hanging on the wall and I have successfully walked another four times since. Focus please on your personal expectations from the Camino. Spirituality(?), art and architecture? natural beauty? commaraderie of many people together seeking a common goal? Its all there waiting for you to take, the Camino is what you yourself make of it-from your descriptions of pre-Camino training in California, the physical demands in Spain can be largely ignored. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances (2013)
#4
i am 67 and i walked from sjpdp to santiago in oct-november. i walk two miles every day and am reasonably fit but walking 20 miles a day with back pack was difficult for me. i wish i had been in better shape - it would have made the camino more enjoyable. but that said it sounds like you are in good shape and i don't believe you will have any problem going from leon to santiago. buen camino - lorenzo
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Oct 2012, CF August 2014, May 2017
#5
Hey there

I work with some pretty qualified people who are international triathletes... .leaders in rehabilitation...have trained international rugby teams. They all told me I needed to do speed work and core exercises.
For me.......they were wrong

I personally think the best training you can do is just .........walk.
Walk as many days as you can in a row.
Try and do some 2hr plus walks...in a row. With no time pressures. That way you can start to see how your body, shoes and clothes will respond to walking every day. And also learn what stretches or other things your body likes to help it recover.
Consider walking on different terrain. ..e.g gravel...tarmac...packed earth etc.

At about 5-10days before you go scale it right back. Keep your body moving....but just take it easy. After all a marathon runner doesnt run a marathon the day before a race.

Everyone is different. ..and this is what worked for me. But I frustrated my colleagues by ignoring them....but im glad I did and wish I had sooner.
Have a wonderful time.
Excellent advice. The best training seems to be just to walk, building up distance and endurance. Well said...
 

jstorybook

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
October-November 2013
#6
In order for me to walk 500 miles of the Camino Frances trained walking 1000 miles--from January-September and rested one month prior to starting the Camino in October. To simulate walking the Camino I walked half the distance in 35 days during this training period. As there are no mountains in SE Ohio I walked as many hills as possible. The last month of training I walked with a backpack with everything I would carry on the Camino (I should have walked more with the pack). I walked for 34 consecutive days on the Camino and completed it in Santiago. I turned 62 years old while on the Camino.
 
#7
Hi November Moon,

I am preparing for my first camino, which begins in early February. I will have had about five weeks to prepare. My work involves a lot of sitting, like you; unlike you, I don't cycle and was not a particular fan of walking until I started preparing.

The first thing I did was to go to an outfitters shop and buy footwear and socks. I will do a winter camino but opted for hiking shoes (Keen Targhee because they have a very wide toe box and provide me good side to side support) and wool socks with wool liners. I then bought a new backpack and upgraded my outerwear (used for skiing) to take advantage of better rain protection and breathability.

Then I started walking. As I said before, I never have been a fan of walking -- but the more and longer I walked, the more enjoyable I found it. Henry David Thoreau wrote about walking; he used the term saunter -- not merely moving from point A to point B, but taking the opportunity to see and reflect on the journey. It's winter here and temperatures have ranged from 1 degree to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with snow and rain.

I started at 4 miles with a half pack, then tried 6 miles with a full pack. The 6 mile walks taught me what others here advise: cut the weight you carry. I also learned that I tend to kick up pebbles and other grit as I walk (which meant stopping every mile on average to shake out my shoes), and that gaiters would prevent that. The second week I tried a 10 mile walk. Best plan ever. Why? I had walked through a hot spot on a toe and 8 miles into the walk the toe blistered. I altered my gait to ease the pain, then my knee began to hurt. This was the best thing that could have happened early in my preparation.

I searched the forum for blisters and followed links to Vonhof's "Fixing your Feet", which I downloaded to my phone in Kindle format. Vonhof explained how to fix a blister and as importantly how to prevent blisters using tape, lubricants, and different socks. I treated the blister (sterile needle and zinc oxide ointment) and taped the toe (duct tape until I bought KT tape). I also began to care for my feet, keeping nails smooth and reducing calluses (my blister was under a callous, which made it more painful and harder to treat). I began to tape problem toes before walks, and to apply a lubricant (Body Glide) to my feet and toes to reduce friction. I also switched to a lighter, double-layer sock (Wrightsocks), which kept my feet cooler on long walks, even when the temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit. I also bought a pair of hiking poles, and found they take considerable stress off my knees, make inclines faster and declines more stable (I'm preparing on some snow and ice-covered surfaces), and help me recognize when I am altering my gait. Some 40 miles later, I am waking blister and pain free -- and find myself wanting to walk more and more.

The other preparation I've found useful is to walk in rain and at dusk or evening hours. Rain walks have helped me evaluate my outerwear, and what layers work at different temperatures and degrees of exertion. Night walks have helped me appreciate my headlamp, and my 3 hour walk last night in falling snow instructed me on just how dangerous it could be to cross the Pyrenees in adverse weather. I also found my gaiters kept my feet dry when waking through four or five inches of snow (duct tape would increase that to a foot or so!).

Anyway, I have written more than I planned to write. Perhaps someone out there will benefit as I have from other members of the forum.
 
Last edited:
P

PANO

Guest
#8
.......I personally think the best training you can do is just .........walk.
Walk as many days as you can in a row.
Sound advise, I can only add this: Most of us tend to have a few too many kilos on our rips. Six month before I started the Camino last fall (at 69), I reduced my weight by almost 10 kilos (just skipping lunches and eating a bit less with lots of fruit). A couple of weeks before leaving for Spain, I started walking every second or third day, building distances from 5km to finally 20km; the last few times I gradually compensated the lost body-weight with a few kilos on my back which my knees never noticed.
Unfortunately, my old comfy shoes finally had it in the last week of training and I needed new ones; not enough time to walk them in properly. While I never had any condition-problems, a nasty tendinitis was a faithful companion along the entire Camino.
Conclusion: The shoe's fitting and comfort is much more important than training!

Buen Camino!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
Waled the Camino July 2014 Sarria to Santiago.
#9
Change your walking program to weekly walk different terrains up and down hills, down is more important. Go to your local small outfitters and purchase your hiking boots and shoes I used hiking boots and closed toe sandals. Break them in now 100 walking days minimum. Purchase hiking socks and liners change them twice per day. Purchase a top dollar backpack have your local outfitter a trained professional very experienced backpacker help you with this. If they do not have a lot of experience in backpacking ask for someone else. Purchase a breathable rain jacket with a hood. Lay all of your gear on the floor and say to yourself "do I really need that?" 3 sets of clothes (wearing one, one clean, one drying) max, 2 is really enough however as you know accidents do happen. 3 each pairs of socks/liners. The only trouble I heard about on the Camino was with peoples feet. Once you have all of your gear put it on and go out. Go grocery shopping this make for some great conversations. Buen Camino! You are going to have a wonderful time. BTW I am going back in my sixty's to do Paris to Santiago on my mountain bike.
 
Camino(s) past & future
completed Camino from Leon to Santiago/2014
(hoping to walk in 2017)
#10
oh, dear! I am making my pilgrimage in june of this year and I have done no walking as of yet...or at least nothing to amount to anything. some say they never have done anything in the way of preparation and have done just fine. I am going to get busy, though, as soon as the weather co-operates! wishing you the best!
ibuen camino!
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#11
I only wish to briefly reiterate, sure physical training may be important but the true preparation is in your head not your feet. Almost anyone can walk 20-30 km in a day but can you do it the next day? Next week? And continue doing it next month? That comes from dedication and perseverance, muscles help but its all in the mind. Read any history on the area you will be walking through? Understand Romanesque in Leon or Gothic in Burgos and Leon? The conglomeration of the Santiago cathedral? The Camino can be much more than pretty lights, shiny ornaments, and pleasant views. Your social skills will come into great use and perhaps conflict- people who you immediately like or some who maybe not-evenings in the albergue passed in great joy or perhaps only lots of noise? Food which you may not recognize or even want? Never one to disparage but there are parts of the Camino which are simply kilometers which must be passed despite all in order to reach your goal. Fix your thoughts correctly-walking day after day is more than physical exercise-it may become a form of meditation if you allow it - an exploration into your soul if you will, get your head set right and your feet will follow.
 
#12
Thanks for all of the replies. My husband actually said to me last night "You know, we could leave for the Camino tomorrow and do just fine." :)

I think it will be a better experience the better shape we are in though - people have mentioned the sights and places along the Camino that are an integral part of the experience - I think this will all be more enjoyable if we are not struggling just to do the walking. And part of the conditioning is definitely the conditioning of the feet as much as anything else - I think getting them used to long walks day after day is going to be key. I also think that part of the training is just something to focus on from a physical fitness perspective - it's always easier to stay motivated to exercise when there is some sort of event or deadline to work to.

For the mental aspects, I think we are good to go - fairly well suited for what will come. We are pretty easy-going socially and are looking forward to that aspect of the Camino. We are both adventurous when it comes to food, having travelled quite a few places, including a few trips to Asia where we couldn't read menus and weren't entirely sure what things were. We ate anyway. My husband was in the Army, so he is used to eating whatever is available and I spend my childhood camping and backpacking with my dad, which is where I learned to eat food which was unrecognizable and that I didn't necessarily want :) I think food along the Camino will not be an issue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
completed Camino from Leon to Santiago/2014
(hoping to walk in 2017)
#13
I only wish to briefly reiterate, sure physical training may be important but the true preparation is in your head not your feet. Almost anyone can walk 20-30 km in a day but can you do it the next day? Next week? And continue doing it next month? That comes from dedication and perseverance, muscles help but its all in the mind. Read any history on the area you will be walking through? Understand Romanesque in Leon or Gothic in Burgos and Leon? The conglomeration of the Santiago cathedral? The Camino can be much more than pretty lights, shiny ornaments, and pleasant views. Your social skills will come into great use and perhaps conflict- people who you immediately like or some who maybe not-evenings in the albergue passed in great joy or perhaps only lots of noise? Food which you may not recognize or even want? Never one to disparage but there are parts of the Camino which are simply kilometers which must be passed despite all in order to reach your goal. Fix your thoughts correctly-walking day after day is more than physical exercise-it may become a form of meditation if you allow it - an exploration into your soul if you will, get your head set right and your feet will follow.
Beautifully said and I will take it to heart.
 

Cheynee

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 May-June
#14
I want to get people's opinions about our training plan for the Camino.

My husband and I will be walking from Leon to Santiago in June, so while June feels like ages away since it is still winter time, but it will be here before we know it, so we are getting serious about training. Fortunately we have pretty good weather here (California - we are actually in a drought, so rain is not impacting our ability to go outside and walk these days). We are in decent shape already, but not triathlon-fit or anything. We have desk jobs, so that works against us. We walk on a regular basis, bike around town (our favorite breakfast spot is a 45 minute bike ride from our house), try to get in a hike at least once a month, workout reasonably regularly. Two summers ago we trained for a fairly strenuous day hike in the Sierras, which had about a 2000 foot elevation gain over about 4 miles. It was a challenge, but we made it. I think we are in decent shape to do the Camino, but that we need to step it up in the coming months to increase our level of fitness and to condition ourselves for the long walking on consecutive days. That is a different kind of stress on the body than 1 strenuous day hike followed by a day of lounging around.

PLUS - we are walking the Camino in celebration of my 40th birthday, which is kind of a biggie and I want to make sure I start my 40s off on the right foot (sorry for the bad pun).

For our Camino training/conditioning, I think the challenge for us is to just find enough time for it around work and everything else. Regularly taking big chunks of the weekend to go walking is hard to manage - to get the distance and to walk on subsequent days to condition our bodies for that on the Camino.

So this is the plan that I made for the next 4 months:
* 3 longish walks per month: 5 to 12 miles each
* 1 hiking weekend per month: 5+ mile walk on Friday evening, 8+ mile hike on Saturday with packs, 5+ mile hike on Sunday with packs
* 3 hours per week for other workouts - pilates, yoga, elliptical, weights, core work, etc.
* Bike rides as we can fit them in - maybe 1 or 2 per month

What do you guys think?
Everyone is just so different, and your plan is good. I walked like a demon on a treadmill almost every day for three months (max 16 km) and I still found the camino walking experience very testing. Others who didn't train much were just fine! Do what you can, and the camino will do the rest. I don't think anyone can ever be prepared for what the camino has in store. Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Waled the Camino July 2014 Sarria to Santiago.
#15
oh, dear! I am making my pilgrimage in june of this year and I have done no walking as of yet...or at least nothing to amount to anything. some say they never have done anything in the way of preparation and have done just fine. I am going to get busy, though, as soon as the weather co-operates! wishing you the best!
ibuen camino!
Backpack on walk out your front door come back 20 kilometers later.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2013; (September 2014)
#16
I only wish to briefly reiterate, sure physical training may be important but the true preparation is in your head not your feet. Almost anyone can walk 20-30 km in a day but can you do it the next day? Next week? And continue doing it next month? That comes from dedication and perseverance, muscles help but its all in the mind. Read any history on the area you will be walking through? Understand Romanesque in Leon or Gothic in Burgos and Leon? The conglomeration of the Santiago cathedral? The Camino can be much more than pretty lights, shiny ornaments, and pleasant views. Your social skills will come into great use and perhaps conflict- people who you immediately like or some who maybe not-evenings in the albergue passed in great joy or perhaps only lots of noise? Food which you may not recognize or even want? Never one to disparage but there are parts of the Camino which are simply kilometers which must be passed despite all in order to reach your goal. Fix your thoughts correctly-walking day after day is more than physical exercise-it may become a form of meditation if you allow it - an exploration into your soul if you will, get your head set right and your feet will follow.
Right on, scruffy1!
I hiked the camino Frances from SJPdP last year after 10.5 months of training. I felt the necessity of this rigorous training due mostly to my age (67), having never done anything remotely this physically demanding, being a polio survivor with 1 artificial knee etc. It was not easy from day 1 to the end - there were days I wanted to give up. But in the end it's all in the heart and the head!! One more thing, November_Moon: you've got something to your advantage that some of us cannot have, regardless of how hard we train - youth (yes, it's all relative!!) So don't worry about a thing - your husband is right: you can start tomorrow if needed. Just make sure your boots are well broken in and your pack is light!! Then follow your head and your heart!! Keep your mind open!! Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May to July, 2014
#17
Two years ago, I went from Leon to Santiago, because I did not have enough time to do the entire Camino Frances. But this year, will do it, starting at the end of May. The first time, I had major blister trouble. That actually turned into a unique and valuable part of the pilgrimage, though it was hard, and I don't want to go through it again, if I can avoid it. So I am training, as much as I can find time for, by weight-lifting, walking, biking and cutting out sugar and refined flour to lose weight. I'll be 62, and I want to get in better shape anyway, especially core strength ("supermans" and crunches of all varieties). A lot of what I'm doing or going to do has already been mentioned, but I'll throw out one more idea: walking barefoot on sand or asphalt, carefully, of course, to get two benefits. First, a toughening of the feet. Second, a workout for the muscles supporting the foot, ankle, and knee, that you would not get otherwise.


One day, on my previous Camino, I walked in Keen sandals to give my self some relief from the way my blisters interacted with my boots. It was good, but if I'd have kept it up, tendinitis for sure. Although people walk the Camino in sandals, and do very well, I suspect their feet are conditioned to sandals; I wouldn't want to try it unless I'd done some significant training in sandals, or was used to walking in them daily--or walking barefoot. I may rely on sandals a bit more this time.

Hiking sticks and knee braces are essential for me--they really help, especially going downhill. I'm will try a product called "HikeGoo," which has some enthusiastic reviews, for reducing foot friction. Instead of thick socks, I'm going to try thinner ones. I've got three months to experiment, and will hike for a week in Yosemite before I start the Camino. That's the plan. (I doubt that getting over the Pyrenees will be much harder than getting to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls and down.) In a sense, I'm trying to get on the Camino now.

Scuffy1 makes a lot of good points. Much of the challenge and satisfaction is mental. It's a mistake to think that there is a perfect Camino and that one can train for it. I'm sure the Camino will surprise me this time as much as the last. But, I am working very hard on Spanish, and since I'm Catholic and want to do this Camino as a more deliberately Christian pilgrimage, I'm trying to build a habit of prayer into my life that hasn't been there before.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May to July, 2014
#18
Hi November Moon,

I am preparing for my first camino, which begins in early February. I will have had about five weeks to prepare. My work involves a lot of sitting, like you; unlike you, I don't cycle and was not a particular fan of walking until I started preparing.

The first thing I did was to go to an outfitters shop and buy footwear and socks. I will do a winter camino but opted for hiking shoes (Keen Targhee because they have a very wide toe box and provide me good side to side support) and wool socks with wool liners. I then bought a new backpack and upgraded my outerwear (used for skiing) to take advantage of better rain protection and breathability.

Then I started walking. As I said before, I never have been a fan of walking -- but the more and longer I walked, the more enjoyable I found it. Henry David Thoreau wrote about walking; he used the term saunter -- not merely moving from point A to point B, but taking the opportunity to see and reflect on the journey. It's winter here and temperatures have ranged from 1 degree to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with snow and rain.

I started at 4 miles with a half pack, then tried 6 miles with a full pack. The 6 mile walks taught me what others here advise: cut the weight you carry. I also learned that I tend to kick up pebbles and other grit as I walk (which meant stopping every mile on average to shake out my shoes), and that gaiters would prevent that. The second week I tried a 10 mile walk. Best plan ever. Why? I had walked through a hot spot on a toe and 8 miles into the walk the toe blistered. I altered my gait to ease the pain, then my knee began to hurt. This was the best thing that could have happened early in my preparation.

I searched the forum for blisters and followed links to Vonhof's "Fixing your Feet", which I downloaded to my phone in Kindle format. Vonhof explained how to fix a blister and as importantly how to prevent blisters using tape, lubricants, and different socks. I treated the blister (sterile needle and zinc oxide ointment) and taped the toe (duct tape until I bought KT tape). I also began to care for my feet, keeping nails smooth and reducing calluses (my blister was under a callous, which made it more painful and harder to treat). I began to tape problem toes before walks, and to apply a lubricant (Body Glide) to my feet and toes to reduce friction. I also switched to a lighter, double-layer sock (Wrightsocks), which kept my feet cooler on long walks, even when the temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit. I also bought a pair of hiking poles, and found they take considerable stress off my knees, make inclines faster and declines more stable (I'm preparing on some snow and ice-covered surfaces), and help me recognize when I am altering my gait. Some 40 miles later, I am waking blister and pain free -- and find myself wanting to walk more and more.

The other preparation I've found useful is to walk in rain and at dusk or evening hours. Rain walks have helped me evaluate my outerwear, and what layers work at different temperatures and degrees of exertion. Night walks have helped me appreciate my headlamp, and my 3 hour walk last night in falling snow instructed me on just how dangerous it could be to cross the Pyrenees in adverse weather. I also found my gaiters kept my feet dry when waking through four or five inches of snow (duct tape would increase that to a foot or so!).

Anyway, I have written more than I planned to write. Perhaps someone out there will benefit as I have from other members of the forum.
I want to get people's opinions about our training plan for the Camino.

My husband and I will be walking from Leon to Santiago in June, so while June feels like ages away since it is still winter time, but it will be here before we know it, so we are getting serious about training. Fortunately we have pretty good weather here (California - we are actually in a drought, so rain is not impacting our ability to go outside and walk these days). We are in decent shape already, but not triathlon-fit or anything. We have desk jobs, so that works against us. We walk on a regular basis, bike around town (our favorite breakfast spot is a 45 minute bike ride from our house), try to get in a hike at least once a month, workout reasonably regularly. Two summers ago we trained for a fairly strenuous day hike in the Sierras, which had about a 2000 foot elevation gain over about 4 miles. It was a challenge, but we made it. I think we are in decent shape to do the Camino, but that we need to step it up in the coming months to increase our level of fitness and to condition ourselves for the long walking on consecutive days. That is a different kind of stress on the body than 1 strenuous day hike followed by a day of lounging around.

PLUS - we are walking the Camino in celebration of my 40th birthday, which is kind of a biggie and I want to make sure I start my 40s off on the right foot (sorry for the bad pun).

For our Camino training/conditioning, I think the challenge for us is to just find enough time for it around work and everything else. Regularly taking big chunks of the weekend to go walking is hard to manage - to get the distance and to walk on subsequent days to condition our bodies for that on the Camino.

So this is the plan that I made for the next 4 months:
* 3 longish walks per month: 5 to 12 miles each
* 1 hiking weekend per month: 5+ mile walk on Friday evening, 8+ mile hike on Saturday with packs, 5+ mile hike on Sunday with packs
* 3 hours per week for other workouts - pilates, yoga, elliptical, weights, core work, etc.
* Bike rides as we can fit them in - maybe 1 or 2 per month

What do you guys think?
I just love to bike ride--builds up the quads and muscles around the knee, where I have trouble. But walking is the real ticket, I think.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2013; (September 2014)
#19
Two years ago, I went from Leon to Santiago, because I did not have enough time to do the entire Camino Frances. But this year, will do it, starting at the end of May. The first time, I had major blister trouble. That actually turned into a unique and valuable part of the pilgrimage, though it was hard, and I don't want to go through it again, if I can avoid it. So I am training, as much as I can find time for, by weight-lifting, walking, biking and cutting out sugar and refined flour to lose weight. I'll be 62, and I want to get in better shape anyway, especially core strength ("supermans" and crunches of all varieties). A lot of what I'm doing or going to do has already been mentioned, but I'll throw out one more idea: walking barefoot on sand or asphalt, carefully, of course, to get two benefits. First, a toughening of the feet. Second, a workout for the muscles supporting the foot, ankle, and knee, that you would not get otherwise.


One day, on my previous Camino, I walked in Keen sandals to give my self some relief from the way my blisters interacted with my boots. It was good, but if I'd have kept it up, tendinitis for sure. Although people walk the Camino in sandals, and do very well, I suspect their feet are conditioned to sandals; I wouldn't want to try it unless I'd done some significant training in sandals, or was used to walking in them daily--or walking barefoot. I may rely on sandals a bit more this time.

Hiking sticks and knee braces are essential for me--they really help, especially going downhill. I'm will try a product called "HikeGoo," which has some enthusiastic reviews, for reducing foot friction. Instead of thick socks, I'm going to try thinner ones. I've got three months to experiment, and will hike for a week in Yosemite before I start the Camino. That's the plan. (I doubt that getting over the Pyrenees will be much harder than getting to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls and down.) In a sense, I'm trying to get on the Camino now.

Scuffy1 makes a lot of good points. Much of the challenge and satisfaction is mental. It's a mistake to think that there is a perfect Camino and that one can train for it. I'm sure the Camino will surprise me this time as much as the last. But, I am working very hard on Spanish, and since I'm Catholic and want to do this Camino as a more deliberately Christian pilgrimage, I'm trying to build a habit of prayer into my life that hasn't been there before.
Others may consider hiking poles to be optional. Like Craig, I consider them to be essential. I could not have completed the CF last year without them. They helped me uphill, downhill, through the mud, through the snow, across the rocks, kept me from losing my balance etc. However, as some others have observed, you must use them properly. Just google or go on youtube to search for "nordic hiking poles technique" (or something along that line) and you will get very good idea of how to use the poles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 5 2014
#20
I have started training. I live in a very hilly area - 100 metre variations i suppose and very little flat sections so I am always going up or down. I have done a 10 kilometre walk on my first day and another 4 today. Am I overly optimistic that I will be prepared. It is interesting to read that some people don't train at all and other go crazy. I assume training on the flat isn't going to prepare as well as mountainous/hilly training. I have moments of bewilderment that I will be able to walk for 30 kilometres per day for a month! I wonder if there are always hills or lots of minor meandering rises and falls interspersed with flat sections to recover.
 

michryan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte 2011,Portuguese 2014, many different hikes throughout the world,Via Francegena 2015.
#21
I have started training. I live in a very hilly area - 100 metre variations i suppose and very little flat sections so I am always going up or down. I have done a 10 kilometre walk on my first day and another 4 today. Am I overly optimistic that I will be prepared. It is interesting to read that some people don't train at all and other go crazy. I assume training on the flat isn't going to prepare as well as mountainous/hilly training. I have moments of bewilderment that I will be able to walk for 30 kilometres per day for a month! I wonder if there are always hills or lots of minor meandering rises and falls interspersed with flat sections to recover.
Good for you. I'm always in training mode. I just love being active but when I'm getting close to a trek I pick up the pace and train loads. I always say I want to enjoy my trip not endure it. ATM I am getting ready for my Portuguese way but unfortunately ( or fortunate it happened now not on the trek) I have Plantar Fasciitis so I'm not able to walk but have all clear to bike ride to training continues. Keep training and happy trekking.
 
#22
I've got 12 weeks before I leave. I've had a very sedentary few months but have now picked up the pace and am planning to supplement walking with a few personal training session to strengthen my legs (mostly to give my knee better support) and my core. During the week walking is mostly on the flat - to and from work in Manchester but I'm trying to get out to the hills at the weekend. I knew the Camino would take me away from friends and family but hadn't bargained on how much the training would too!
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 5 2014
#23
Cate
What sort of training is the PT doing with you? Is it helping? I am thinking after much of the information on here that it doesn't really matter how much training we do we are still going to be somewhat under-prepared? I have attached a training program I have found. I will endeavour to follow it however I am away in SE Asia for the next two weeks so no hilly training for me. :)
 

Attachments

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#24
I hate to say it David, but the camino is all up and down. Everyone talks about the meseta being "flat" but that is only 2 or 3 days between Boadilla del Camino and Mansillas. Spain is second only to Switzerland in Europe for country average elevation. The Adelaide Hills would be good training country, in SE Asia maybe you could fit in some gym sessions?

Having said that my training is always hopelessly inadequate - would love to be fit enough to enjoy the first two weeks but my personal purgatory seems to be to repeat the mistakes of the past.......
 
#25
Cate
What sort of training is the PT doing with you? Is it helping? I am thinking after much of the information on here that it doesn't really matter how much training we do we are still going to be somewhat under-prepared? I have attached a training program I have found. I will endeavour to follow it however I am away in SE Asia for the next two weeks so no hilly training for me. :)
I've only had the first session which was mostly him assessing. He's going to focus on quads and glutes, core stability and balance and ironing out some posture issues for example one leg is much weaker than the other.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2014
#26
Hilly is one thing but the rocks are nothing what I expected. some rock paths do not even look like anyone ever walked the path. Very steep hills up and down. The downs are worst than the ups. But it is still a great experience fit or not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
#29
You know what they say, "everyone has an opinion and.... that other thing". So here's mine. Opinion that is. You will be just fine. My suggestion is when you begin walking from where you consider your start, Just walk... Slowly... I would be more concerned with keeping to an agenda. I noticed that the more folks tried to control their mileage and "complete" certain stages as laid out in a particular guide book (that will remain nameless) the less they seem to be enjoying "the walk". If you are in reasonably decent shape and it sounds like you are, you can do it.
Just let go of your expectations, turn it over to that Great Spirit of El Camino de Santiago and have a good time. Just relax......... MMmmmmm Inhale...... Exhale...... Inhale...... Exhale....... See?
 

lfamiglio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(May 2014)
#30
On Camino Frances from SJPdP now day #23 and my training helped:

12 weeks of 3 walks per week; two shorter 5-10 km
one long walk each week increasing to 20 km two weeks before leaving

Plus 2 or 3 x each week knee strengthening of 3 sets of 15-20
-leg lifts
-Lunges with weights up to 15 pounds
- step ups with weights


It is worth taking the time to train, wearing your boots for three months and your pack with weight a few times.

You will enjoy yourself more.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 2014
#31
On Camino Frances from SJPdP now day #23 and my training helped:

12 weeks of 3 walks per week; two shorter 5-10 km
one long walk each week increasing to 20 km two weeks before leaving

Plus 2 or 3 x each week knee strengthening of 3 sets of 15-20
-leg lifts
-Lunges with weights up to 15 pounds
- step ups with weights


It is worth taking the time to train, wearing your boots for three months and your pack with weight a few times.

You will enjoy yourself more.
That's almost exactly the training I've been doing, but my leg strengthening has been in the form of body balance classes - combo of tai chi, pilates and strong yoga poses. But I do 12km 3 times a week, and longer on the weekends. Leaving in 2 weeks time so hope it's been enough!
 

indyinmaine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - SJPdP to Santiago - Sept/Oct 2013
#32
Training, training, training! Let your body know what it feels like to walk the "longest day" and Mother Nature will take care of the rest. If you're really tired, stop. If you feel like walking longer (except for the first two or three days) walk. Too much concentration on the body doesn't give the mind breathing room. And I'm over 65!
 
Camino(s) past & future
completed Camino from Leon to Santiago/2014
(hoping to walk in 2017)
#33
I hate to say it David, but the camino is all up and down. Everyone talks about the meseta being "flat" but that is only 2 or 3 days between Boadilla del Camino and Mansillas. Spain is second only to Switzerland in Europe for country average elevation. The Adelaide Hills would be good training country, in SE Asia maybe you could fit in some gym sessions?

Having said that my training is always hopelessly inadequate - would love to be fit enough to enjoy the first two weeks but my personal purgatory seems to be to repeat the mistakes of the past.......
Hi kanga! I had very inadequate training...did my first camino from leon to Santiago in 14 days...and lived to tell!! Wasn't prepared for the "up and down!" I did so appreciate everyone's input! very helpful!
many thanks to all!
 

CaptBuddy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2012, again Fall 2014.
#34
I hate to say it David, but the camino is all up and down. Everyone talks about the meseta being "flat" but that is only 2 or 3 days between Boadilla del Camino and Mansillas. Spain is second only to Switzerland in Europe for country average elevation. The Adelaide Hills would be good training country, in SE Asia maybe you could fit in some gym sessions?

Having said that my training is always hopelessly inadequate - would love to be fit enough to enjoy the first two weeks but my personal purgatory seems to be to repeat the mistakes of the past.......
So true.
I live in Flatland, Florida. Could keep a great pace on my daily walks, and weekly long walks, no problem. On the Camino I was shocked to find my pace was half that at home the first few days. Nonetheless, it is all I got now as I'm at it again.
 

Finisterre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria 2001,
Porto 2006,
Valenca 2008,
Finisterre 2010,
SJdPP 2012,
Tui 2014.

No plans to return, yet.
#35
OP, you are much more organised than me. I just go for a few long walks to check my shoes are okay. When I get to Spain I get up early and I amble along, enjoying the views, the people, the cafes, the bars, the countryside, then I snooze in the afternoon and start again later. It gets you there. And you don't have to worry about anything.

May I suggest that you tear up your training regime and enjoy a some long walks whenever you can fit them in? You sound far too capable to need to worry.
 

Annie G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
#36
Training with bad knees:

Today I had an appointment with my doctor about my post-nasal drip. While this malady is most assuredly annoying but what I really wanted to complain about was my 68 year old knees and what I can expect of them when I walk the Camino next June. I've had several surgeries on one of them and the other one is tired of always picking up the slack. Turns out, my doctor has actually heard of the Camino and has been encouraged by some friends to walk it. His take on training is to not 'do the Camino before doing the Camino' . Old knees are approaching the lifetime warranty so he advised not adding to the accumulative wear and tear by training too hard, i.e., high impact exercise such as ...uh..walking. Rather, he suggests swimming or biking to build up the quads. He discourages squats or lunges. Yay.
While I like his recommendations for the most part I am mystified as to how I am supposed to break in my shoes on a bike. Or how to become accustomed to slogging around town with a 15 lb back back. What do you all think of my doctor's advice?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances ('14)
Norte ('15)
#37
I did no training and nothing can really prepare you. Pre-camino I walked a couple of miles without backpack to the centre and would come home legs aching and thinking "how on earth will I cope". The first few days are hard but it's amazing how quickly your body will adapt.

By all means get some walks in but I wouldn't suggest a training plan and try to be mindful about overdoing it and causing pre-camino injurie(s).
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#38
You will want to train to build the muscles around the aging joints. It can be done with a variety of exercises, as your doctor suggests.

Don't do anything for the first time on the camino. It is the wrong place for surprises. Test the knees with long walks wearing your pack. If you cannot do it at home, you cannot do it on the camino. NEVER test your limits by exceeding them. Know when to quit. Quitting is actually one of the finer things in life!

Avoid competition and over-achieving. There is a lot of braggadocio in the Forum on long days and quick caminos. Don't join the ego trip; be content with slow, steady, and short. If you find yourself wanting to stay a part of a group on the camino, take a taxi at the beginning or end of the day (I prefer the beginning).

If you follow all your doctor's advice, I suspect you will regret it a bit on the camino. It has good parts and suspect parts! Ignoring his years of school and experience is inadvisable, but I suggest you make up your mind for yourself (which implies ignoring this post).
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
#39
His take on training is to not 'do the Camino before doing the Camino' ..... What do you all think of my doctor's advice?
. You actually can't beat walking as a method for preparing for the Camino, all the other exercises are useful In Addition to walking. I possess dodgy knees, stretching, relaxing my legs and joints are essential but the walking prep let's me know where I am at and what needs to be done before I start the camino. The Camino Frances is mostly on soft track, that is not as damaging for the knees, when you do your training try not to walk on hard sealed surfaces. There is a lot of advice on here about ultra light weights and how to achieve it in your backpack, have a good look at those posts following that path could be what allows your knees to get you to Santiago, even if you feel you could not be that ruthless with what goes into your backpack have a few experiment walks with the very bare minimum of items in there, see the difference.

Seems like your doctor has actually walked the Camino already in his mind. You go with what you have done or not done, mentally and physically. Preplanning is the heaviest load that we need to shed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 2015, CF June 2016, CP June 2017
#40
I worry about my training too. I am walking around 25 training miles a week with my pack, and 25 without and ramping up.
 

Annie G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
#41
I worry about my training too. I am walking around 25 training miles a week with my pack, and 25 without and ramping up.
I'm envious...maybe. Everyone is so different in how they respond to training. You may do just fine. However, my knee problems started decades ago when I was taxing my joints working on a farm lifting hay bales, movng rocks, etc. Not to mention that skiing accident...Point is, it all counts and the body keeps track.
 

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