23 Replies to “How to train for the Camino de Santiago?”

  1. I finished the Camino on May 26 and started on April 26 in Roncesvalles. Before my trip I walked 10 miles on Saturdays and 8 miles on SUndays with my new backpack and boots. I did this for about four weekends. Still, when i got there, I wasn’t sure i was going to be able to sustain the 15 mile a day schedule. I am happy to say that I did.
    The Camino has its own magic….and the support of all “peregrinos” is a great plus.
    Buen Camino!

  2. Make sure your shoes are broken in–the way to do this is to walk as much as you can and with a pack–for sustained periods–a couple of hours several times a week, at least.
    Make sure the pack approaches the optimum size, about 10-12 lbs–no more than that or you will join the thousands who cast off belongings along the way or send them on to General Delivery in Santiago. One change of underwear and socks, a small first aid kit, maybe an ultralight blanket and a poncho or ultra-light rain jacket and pants, possibly alternative footwear like sandals. For the rest of the 10-12 pounds, a water bottle or camel bag, you’ll be packing lunch from your last stop. That’s it!
    We picked out our packs and our shoes and climbed to the top of a 25 story highrise and back down again twice each Saturday for a month before we went. The stairs more or less simulate the terrain of the Camino in places, but get the building manager’s permission first!
    The beauty of this “running in” period is that you can come to see and believe the wisdom of the light pack and, most important, you can see if your boots or walking shoes are right for you. My wife found that the pair I had bought her at first were wrong for her, causing shin-splints and blisters in our training walks, so we shopped around and found her a pair of Montrails that were perfection itself when we got to Spain–no blisters for her, few if any problems. I stuck with my original Eccos and lived to regret it!

  3. June 10, 2011

    OK, Keep your training simple! Assemble your gear, Shoes, Socks, Pack and belongings & start walking. I Walked the Camino in Sept & Oct of 2006. I started walking with my gear in April 2006. The benefits = “shaking down your gear”, adjusting your pack and shoes {they adjust to you over time} and getting to know the area you live in and are walking { walked the greater Seattle area}

    I could write a short book on the experiences I had during my training walks!! I walked off about 10 lbs during training & shook out about 10 lbs from my pack. My shoes were a perfect fit by the time I took my first step on the Camino.

    Training for the Camino is alot of fun if you keep it simple. Buen Camino

  4. I am due to walk it in three weeks. I took out my hiking boots and developed tibial syndrome after the first week of training, I guess it was lucky that it happened then. Since then I’ve walked carefully and not overdone it and slowly built up my strength. I have also had my checked boots with a specialist and found different things that can be done to them as well as a physical performance test with my local gym to determine what areas on my body I tend to overburden and where I tend to compensate. I haven’t even walked it yet, but I am already “negotiating away” stuff that I initially thought was important. 🙂 All in all I’m really glad that I had that experience when I started “walking” or else i wouldn’t have checked all these other things. The last thing I want is return home because I develop a stress fracture.

  5. Yes, you can practice walking/hiking and the like and it will help. What’s equally important, and was said below, is keeping your backpack weight down to the bare minimum and making sure you have the right shoes & socks. The descents in some areas are brutal and will wreck havoc on your knees, so keep your weight down and have trekking poles or a walking stick. ALWAYS remember it’s “one day at a time”.

  6. Leave the hiking boots at home as well as the stupid poles. You don’t need them. A comfortable, nylon hiking shoe and your rucksack (Less than 35) and some tech clothes and you’re on your way.

    1. I have hiked very long distances both with and without poles and wouldn’t hike any significant hills (particularly descents) without them. They make a real difference in taking the strain off my knees on steep descents, and have saved me from falling from a trip and from spraining an ankle many times. The also double as my tent poles, allowing me to carry a 200g tarp for camping, shade or to get out of the rain while taking a break. The weight of my pack with water, food, tarp, etc. is around 5 – 6 kg. If you like trekking poles BRING THEM! If you’ve never used them, give them a try before dismissing them. I thought they were stupid, but now I love them.

      1. I’ve gotta say that I agree with this. I’m ex army and I mocked my friends for carrying poles. A week in with feet that felt like they had been through a meat tenderiser, I tried a pair for half a day. The next day I bought some, and used them the whole way. Embarrassing :).
        Give them a go for a good, long walk. See what you think. I have no experience with the pilgrim’s staff, but a lot of people had those and they look cooler!

    2. Vooiceofreason6,

      I have to disagree with your ¨stupid poles¨statement. Obviously you have healthy knees and are pretty comfortable going up and down without a problem. And you must be relatively young. There are some of us who would not be able to walk as much and as comfortably, without the poles. I wonder how many people who have arthritic knees ahy away from this type of activity because they have no idea of the benefit of using poles!

      The purpose of dual poles is to reduce the weight on your legs, knees and on your back. If you use them effectively they increase your speed, they give you stability, they reduce your fatigue and can actually help you increase the distance you hike in a day.

      Buen Camino to you!


  7. Consider using a potato peeler on various sensitive parts of your feet and toes. Do this once a day for at least a week. This should help prepare you for walking on blisters. Seriously thought, get some miles under your belt with the gear and shoes that you will be wearing. I met very few people that didn’t have blisters, and a few even were sent home because of infections from the blisters.

  8. I’m also a former trekking pole scoffer, but while hiking in Patagonia a trailmate insisted I try one pole in a rough stretch. In extremely high wind on a fairly dicey trail the pole was great for balance and downhill. I just bought a pair of Black Diamond Z poles for the Camino. The pair weighs almost nothing (12 oz.) and they fold to about 15 in. If you want ultra, they come in carbon fiber at 9 oz.

  9. Use Glide on your feet. It prevents blisters and is less a laundrey problem than coating your feet with vaseline before putting on socks and boots.

  10. I walked the Camino del Norte ( Costa) from Gijon to SdC. It’s about 360km and I did it in 18 days.
    I only practised three times, walking for about 28 km, but I often go running in my spare time and I’m in good condition. Make sure you listen to your body, when you are tired, make sure you have a rest. PLan your trip and don’t forget to take enough time to do it.
    The shoes and socks are very important and make sure your backpack is not that heavy, mine was and my shoulders are very weak right now.
    Enjoy your trip anyway it was a wonderful experience!

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  14. I plan to go to walk on the path of compostelle 5 or 6 days in 2 weeks. What part do you suggest me? I would like to walk in the most beautiful part. I do not necesserely want to go to Santiago. Any suggestions?

  15. Taking the French Way from Pamplona down to Puente la Reina and thence due west through all the towns, villages and cities until Santiago de Compostela. If anyone can please drop some hints: “which places are kind, helpful and welcoming to pilgrims, which not”, will be awfully grateful.

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