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Training schedules

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2020
I'm training for an April Camino Francis from SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. I've been doing back to back walks increasing the mileage one mile a month. This month I just started walking 10 mile days. I try to walk at least 4 to 5 times a week.

My question is what kind of training plan did you use? I'm worried about hurting myself before I get there. There seems to be so many books about the camino, but none on how to train for it.

Recently I've started to have some foot pain that I have never had before. I have walked and run marathons before so I am familiar with long distance training.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
My question is what kind of training plan did you use? I'm worried about hurting myself before I get there.
Other than my weekly Saturday morning walks with the local hiking club I don’t train at all, I just start very slowly, and do short easy days to begin with. Don’t injure yourself before you start. Lots of people will tell you differently, but it works for me. Also I have to walk at MY pace. If I try and walk faster to keep up with someone I tend to develop tendonitis in my knee. Have learnt to listen to it.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
This month I just started walking 10 mile days... Recently I've started to have some foot pain that I have never had before. I have walked and run marathons before so I am familiar with long distance training.
I have never trained for or run a marathon, so I am curious... If you were training for a marathon, would you train at 50% the distance, 4 or 5 times/week, for months and months beforehand?

If your feet are hurting, my first guess would be that you are overdoing things. I suggest that you take a week or two of rest, and if your feet still hurt you should consult a podiatrist. If your feet are better, than you were probably training too much. Ease back into it. Most of us do not do those distances in training.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Welcome Jeanne. If you can walk 6 km a day without any problems you can walk the Camino, its not a marathon, there are cafe's every few kilometers. There is no point in walking the Camino before you walk the Camino, do it at a pace you are comfortable with and enjoy it. With the training you are doing at the moment you are well ahead.
Happy planning and Buen Camino.
 
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
Welcome Jeanne. If you can walk 6 km a day without any problems you can walk the Camino, its not a marathon, there are cafe's every few kilometers. There is no point in walking the Camino before you walk the Camino, do it at a pace you are comfortable with and enjoy it. With the training you are doing at the moment you are well ahead.
Happy planning and Buen Camino.
ditto.
Good comment...”doing Camino before you do it”
Train some yes.

saw far too often on my four different c a m i n o s the one who over trained and had to “prove” it the rest.
They never enjoyed the moment. Turned into some sort of sporting competition for them.

Over doing it.

I am over 70. Did little training. Other than walking with pack. Adding weight to it.
 

Camineiro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
several
Hi Jeanne,

I never do training for a camino.
Got off right away from my chesterfield and started my pilgrimage.

The training starts on the camino and your stamina will grow on the way every day.

In case you like to prepare for the camino just walk a little bit 3-4 times a week.
Half an hour up to 60 minutes is enough.

Buen camino
Ultreya
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I don't train and haven't trained for most of my Caminos.
I'm 67 years old.
I simply walk 4-8 kilometers a few times a week.
I figure with rests in between, I can do this 3-4 times when on the Camino.

When I get on the Camino, I start out with a couple of shorter stages and gradually increase my distance.
That's what works for me.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I'm training for an April Camino Francis from SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. I've been doing back to back walks increasing the mileage one mile a month. This month I just started walking 10 mile days. I try to walk at least 4 to 5 times a week.

My question is what kind of training plan did you use? I'm worried about hurting myself before I get there. There seems to be so many books about the camino, but none on how to train for it.

Recently I've started to have some foot pain that I have never had before. I have walked and run marathons before so I am familiar with long distance training.
I did a couple of things. A local group of Camino enthusiasts walks together twice a week for about 12 to 15 km. I walked with them when I could (hampered by the fact that they walk on weekdays and I still work). I also made a circular route by my house that was about 10 km with a nice downhill and uphill to practice on. When I could do that route twice in succession (20 km) for three days in a row without issue I knew I was ready. It is the day after day after day you have to prepare for.

That was for my 2018 Camino Portugues. I did zero training for my 2016 Camino Frances.
 
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
I have to add....
It is helpful to do some down hill/up hill training before actual Camino.

my lack of training for the hills made me pay for it the first week or so. I regretted I had not done some hill work before actually walking the Camino.
Work on getting your pack light as possible. And proper foot wear/socks are equally important as training.

just go do it. Learn. Enjoy

blessings
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
If the foot pain is in the sole of the foot it likely is plantar fasciitis. Irritation of the tendon.
Especially if you have "high" arches.
You may need better arch support in you shoes and ASICS sneakers are good for that.
Also you might try stretching Achilles before walking.
I got up to walking 6 miles a day before all three of my Caminos.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think it’s helpful to remember that forum members come from many different places, and the average level of daily physical activity varies tremendously. Lowest on the totem pole is probably my very own USA. So cross-cultural advice and experiences should be taken with a grain of salt. Our starting base lines are likely to be very different.

Though this training question is very common here on the forum, I remember seeing some Belgians and Germans on the camino looking very confused when someone asked them that question. The Belgian, I think said — Train? How do you train to walk? Don’t you already know how to walk? And he was not being snarky!

I trained a lot for my first camino, and then the next time I walked the Francés I had to ratchet it up again. And then I decided that it would be a lot healthier to just simply increase my average daily activity at home and not worry about training. I am by no means a super athlete, but I now don’t do any Pre-camino training. My biggest problem over the last few years has been knee pain on very steep descents on the Olvidado or Vasco, but I have added a few exercises and hope that this year will be different!

Buen camino, Laurie
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I think it’s helpful to remember that forum members come from many different places, and the average level of daily physical activity varies tremendously. Lowest on the totem pole is probably my very own USA. So cross-cultural advice and experiences should be taken with a grain of salt. Our starting base lines are likely to be very different.

Though this training question is very common here on the forum, I remember seeing some Belgians and Germans on the camino looking very confused when someone asked them that question. The Belgian, I think said — Train? How do you train to walk? Don’t you already know how to walk? And he was not being snarky!

I trained a lot for my first camino, and then the next time I walked the Francés I had to ratchet it up again. And then I decided that it would be a lot healthier to just simply increase my average daily activity at home and not worry about training. I am by no means a super athlete, but I now don’t do any Pre-camino training. My biggest problem over the last few years has been knee pain on very steep descents on the Olvidado or Vasco, but I have added a few exercises and hope that this year will be different!

Buen camino, Laurie

I guess I'm one of those Belgians :) .
Don't forget the Dutch either and their cycling. Also excellent training.

Might also be easier for us seeing on average we have more paid days off here than in the USA. Making it easier to get away for weekends out in nature?

On average I also believe we use our car less than in the USA.
On a normal working day I easily reach 10000 steps a day. Just by taking steps at the office and doing my housecalls on foot.

When I prepared for my first Camino I was already doing my daily walks of at least 30 minutes ( around the block ) and on Sunday I tend to go for local walks in between 7 or 10 k .
To get an idea how fit I was I upped those walks till 18 k for a couple of times. And took my fully loaded backpack with me.
And yes, I saw the first week on the Frances as a kind of training too. Just took it easy and then when I felt more at ease I increased the daily distance.
 

Chris Gi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Did April through June 2018 from Pamplona to Santiago.
2020 May or end of September - NO!
2021 ?
I'm training for an April Camino Francis from SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. I've been doing back to back walks increasing the mileage one mile a month. This month I just started walking 10 mile days. I try to walk at least 4 to 5 times a week.

My question is what kind of training plan did you use? I'm worried about hurting myself before I get there. There seems to be so many books about the camino, but none on how to train for it.

Recently I've started to have some foot pain that I have never had before. I have walked and run marathons before so I am familiar with long distance training.
I do a couple of 10 mile hikes, back to back if possible, every month. Apart from that it is just probably 3-4 miles a day when I can fit it in. I also go to the gym and do both free weights etc to keep all muscles in top shape.
Planning my next Camino this year when I will be 80. Maybe slow and steady has become my motto 🤣
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I think it’s helpful to remember that forum members come from many different places, and the average level of daily physical activity varies tremendously. Lowest on the totem pole is probably my very own USA. So cross-cultural advice and experiences should be taken with a grain of salt. Our starting base lines are likely to be very different.

Though this training question is very common here on the forum, I remember seeing some Belgians and Germans on the camino looking very confused when someone asked them that question. The Belgian, I think said — Train? How do you train to walk? Don’t you already know how to walk? And he was not being snarky!

I trained a lot for my first camino, and then the next time I walked the Francés I had to ratchet it up again. And then I decided that it would be a lot healthier to just simply increase my average daily activity at home and not worry about training. I am by no means a super athlete, but I now don’t do any Pre-camino training. My biggest problem over the last few years has been knee pain on very steep descents on the Olvidado or Vasco, but I have added a few exercises and hope that this year will be different!

Buen camino, Laurie
Great points!
I "trained" quite a bit before my first Camino, part of which was walking 10 miles a day for four consecutive days, primarily to determine how my feet held up in my chosen footwear - did I develop hot spots, blisters or any other foot pain? Then on the fifth day I walked 15 miles with my backpack. On each of those days I built in rest stops at a café, in order to mimic a day on the Camino.
I've met many people on the Camino who are surprised that they develop blisters because they regularly go on long hikes at home. But the thing is that they don't do them on several consecutive days.
Now, I don't specifically train for the Camino, but I love walking, so I usually walk anywhere between 3-10 miles a day. I'm fortunate to live in a hilly/mountainous area, so there's always some ascents and descents in my walks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2021?
I'm training for an April Camino Francis from SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. I've been doing back to back walks increasing the mileage one mile a month. This month I just started walking 10 mile days. I try to walk at least 4 to 5 times a week.

My question is what kind of training plan did you use? I'm worried about hurting myself before I get there. There seems to be so many books about the camino, but none on how to train for it.

Recently I've started to have some foot pain that I have never had before. I have walked and run marathons before so I am familiar with long distance training.
If you want a training program to follow, try Hal Higdon’s program for fitness walking:




It is largely a site for runners, but has training programs for walkers too....
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
I'm training for an April Camino Francis from SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. I've been doing back to back walks increasing the mileage one mile a month. This month I just started walking 10 mile days. I try to walk at least 4 to 5 times a week.

My question is what kind of training plan did you use? I'm worried about hurting myself before I get there. There seems to be so many books about the camino, but none on how to train for it.

Recently I've started to have some foot pain that I have never had before. I have walked and run marathons before so I am familiar with long distance training.
As usual, the veterans here have provided some great veteran advice. One of the most useful insights is that it really matters where you started from. Those who advise a 55 year old couch potato to ignore training and just take it easy for the first week are doing them a great disservice. Beyond preparing your cardio and muscle strength (which CAN be done with a slow trail start), you need to get used to your shoes/socks, and your pack. Get used to, and adjust as required. An average 25 year old can do this on the trail. So can some 65 year olds. But most older pilgrims will find a lack of training manifests itself in blisters, or some type of foot or leg injury. Logrono has been a rogues gallery of miserable feet the times I walked through.

To me, the main point of training is making sure that your equipment works the way you intend, and that you have proven it to yourself BEFORE you leave home. Once there, its a bit late to realize that your pack doesn't work, or to spend four days in Burgos while your blisters heal. Can you recover from an injury while on the trail? Sure you can.....if you are 25 years old and have the time. For each of those, five more will find themselves taking taxis for a week to keep to a schedule or sending themselves home.

I once described the Camino injury experience to a prospective pilgrim as a game of Russian Roulette. The untrained and unfit older pilgrim starts out with four bullets in the revolver. Training for two months with your pack, on hills, wearing the right shoes, can get you down to a single cartridge. Nobody sets out risk free, there are just too many ways to sustain an injury on a month long day after day trek through unfamiliar territory. Don't forget that the weather gets a vote too.

Based on your specifics, you are ready to go now. Its not a marathon level of effort, not even close. Once you trust your shoes to be wearable all day and blister free, and your "trail weight" pack is not killing you, you are ready.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2020
Thank you so much for all of the helpful replies. I think I am overtraining. As of this morning, I'm going to take some time off to see if my foot pain goes away. When I start back to training, I am going to modify my schedule to only walk long back to back days on the weekend. During the week I'll just walk 4 to 5 miles.

I'm very used to following a formal training schedule. Left to my own devices, well....😔 I do have exercises from the physical therapist to follow for strengthening my hips and legs to support my knees. I had knee surgery a few years back.

I'm also going to buy some new trailrunners as I suspect some of my pain might be from shoes wearing out. I'm carrying an 11.5 lbs backpack along with being slightly overweight so my shoes are having to support a lot. I have some awesome hiking boots that I am also bringing with me to wear through the mountains and anywhere there is rough terrain. They will be my rainy day shoes too as they are waterproof.

Anyway, thanks again for all of your replies. I feel much better prepared.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
As of this morning, I'm going to take some time off to see if my foot pain goes away. When I start back to training, I am going to modify my schedule to only walk long back to back days on the weekend. During the week I'll just walk 4 to 5 miles.
That sounds like a good plan.

I have some awesome hiking boots that I am also bringing with me to wear through the mountains and anywhere there is rough terrain.
I'm not so sure that sounds like a good plan! Hiking boots are sooo bulky to carry, just for occasional use. The route "through the mountains" from SJPP is mostly on road. The rough portions there and elsewhere tend to be a few hundred metres only. For wet and muddy conditions, there are arguments for and against boots, shoes and waterproofness, and there is no clear right answer.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
That sounds like a good plan.


I'm not so sure that sounds like a good plan! Hiking boots are sooo bulky to carry, just for occasional use. The route "through the mountains" from SJPP is mostly on road. The rough portions there and elsewhere tend to be a few hundred metres only. For wet and muddy conditions, there are arguments for and against boots, shoes and waterproofness, and there is no clear right answer.
I agree. Wear the footwear that works best for 85% or so of the Camino, and just deal with the trickier parts. It's definitely not worth carrying an extra pound or two of footwear for a small percentage of the trail. For me, what's worked best for my last few Caminos has been hiking sandals.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I am carrying a backpack plus having a bag sent forward each day. The bag sent forward will have my extra shoes in it.
It seems to me like so much unnecessary hassle.... I really don’t think you need extra shoes as - as mentioned by others before - the terrain doesn’t warrant it.
But hey, do what makes you feel comfortable, ignore my comments and ... enjoy the Camino! 🙂
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
The bag sent forward will have my extra shoes in it.
Shoes are bulky, heavy and take up loads of space, and you really need only one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of casual shoes.

The camino is a well-trodden path, and if it’s a bit stoney or rocky in places then take that section slowly and carefully.

Even though you are having your main bag transported each day keep it small and light. Easier to unpack each evening and repack next morning, and easier to drag up two flights of stairs when shit happens and you’re not staying where you thought you were going to.

You really don’t need loads of stuff on the camino – even the upmarket paradors are used to grubby pilgrims gracing their restaurants in the evenings.

If you are going on a cruise at the end of your camino, and need evening gowns for that, then forward a suitcase to pick up in Santiago, but no need to lug it along the camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2020
Shoes are bulky, heavy and take up loads of space, and you really need only one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of casual shoes.

The camino is a well-trodden path, and if it’s a bit stoney or rocky in places then take that section slowly and carefully.

Even though you are having your main bag transported each day keep it small and light. Easier to unpack each evening and repack next morning, and easier to drag up two flights of stairs when shit happens and you’re not staying where you thought you were going to.

You really don’t need loads of stuff on the camino – even the upmarket paradors are used to grubby pilgrims gracing their restaurants in the evenings.

If you are going on a cruise at the end of your camino, and need evening gowns for that, then forward a suitcase to pick up in Santiago, but no need to lug it along the camino.
Good point! I'm trying to keep it as light as possible.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2019, 2020)
I'm training for an April Camino Francis from SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. I've been doing back to back walks increasing the mileage one mile a month. This month I just started walking 10 mile days. I try to walk at least 4 to 5 times a week.

My question is what kind of training plan did you use? I'm worried about hurting myself before I get there. There seems to be so many books about the camino, but none on how to train for it.

Recently I've started to have some foot pain that I have never had before. I have walked and run marathons before so I am familiar with long distance training.
I'm 72 and walked the CF Fall/Oct 2019. I walk. I'm retired, so I have the time. Not sure I call this training, since I do it year 'round. Right now, I'm walking 4-6 miles most days, but as it gets closer to my next Camino (fall 2020) I will be more focused. Hills. Did I mention hills? There were days when I thought the entire Camino was uphill.. until I thought it was only downhill. Training is also to make sure your gear is fitted correctly. Many times I had a pair of boots that felt fine at 6 miles, but when I did 10 miles for a few days in a row, I saw they were not working. Thankful for the REI one-year return policy no matter how much I had worn the boots. Same goes for the pack. My feet/legs never hurt on the Camino. I was very tired some days, but my feet didn't hurt.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018; Munich to Lindau (Germany) Sep 2020
...
I'm also going to buy some new trailrunners as I suspect some of my pain might be from shoes wearing out. I'm carrying an 11.5 lbs backpack along with being slightly overweight so my shoes are having to support a lot. I have some awesome hiking boots that I am also bringing with me to wear through the mountains and anywhere there is rough terrain. They will be my rainy day shoes too as they are waterproof.
...
I think a pair of trailrunners and a pair of hiking boots are not needed.
Here are many threads about the question: boots or trail runners? (you can use the search function to find these threads)
If I would try to summarize I would say... boots are not needed for the terrain and trail runners are lighter... so I prefer trail runners (you can add poles for support)... but there are many pilgrims who prefer boots... so take whatever you prefer.
But only one pair of walking shoes (because of the weight)!

And I think you do not need much training if you have the time to start slowly on your camino... you do not need to walk a camino before your camino... but you can use your training for deciding which shoes you prefer.
 
Last edited:

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
April and into May can be very wet and cold on the Frances so my recommendation for what its worth would be hiking shoes, not boots, they are lighter and more suitable for using during down time. They will also give good grip for the climbs and descents. My preference is Keen and I would also go for waterproof for that time of year. They are available at REI.
 

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