This is one of the first questions people ask is if they need to train before walking the Camino de Santiago. Our travel consultants at CaminoWays.com have prepared this useful list of practical and simple tips to help you prepare for your walk on the Camino. For anyone planning to embark on this exciting adventure in the future you can also download our full 6 month fitness programme.
LET’S START FROM THE START
It is important to follow some basic training before cycling or walking the Camino. Ideally, you should start your training one or two months before your trip. Of course the intensity of your training will depend on the route, duration of the trail you have chosen, as well as the terrain in that particular area. A basic training program will make a big difference and it will help reduce the risk of suffering common (and easily avoided!) injuries such as blisters, strained tendons, etc…
- Walking the Camino: Make sure you give your walking shoes a good test run before you go on the Camino to avoid uncomfortable and painful blisters. If you have a good fitness level, aim for 3 or 4-hour walks at least twice or three times before your trip. Essentials for your trip include: a comfortable pair of walking shoes or boots, a small backpack with spare blister plasters, a water bottle that can be filled along the way and your pilgrim certificate to collect those all important stamps.
- Cycling the Camino: Dust off the old bike in your basement, ride up a hill or two, do a spinning class and cycle 20 miles at least once before doing the Camino. The terrain varies depending on the route that you choose to take so always ask our travel specialists before you book a cycling route. Essentials for your cycle include: a padded pair of shorts for the bike, comfortable shoes with a good grip, a water bottle and your certificate.
TRAINING TO WALK THE CAMINO
- Train physically as much as you can, combining flat and mountainous ground. If you usually get out for a walk or a hike each weekend then this will suffice for your training five and six months prior to your trip.
- Increase the distance you walk gradually each week, reaching 15km two weeks before you travel.
- Walk with your gear and day backpack on so you get used to the weight and make changes accordingly (remember, if you travel with CaminoWays.com your big luggage will be transferred from hotel to hotel so you only need a day backpack for your liquids and other essentials).
- Try to combine running with walking to build stamina and resistance (ideally, middle of your first month training).
- Listen to your body, both during training and during the Camino. If you feel you should take a rest, you probably need one!
3 Months before the Camino
On the first week, walk for at least 30 minutes. For you second week, walk for 30 minutes without a break. At this point, the most important thing is to get your body used to walking, don’t worry about the distance. In your first month of training you should walk for 30-40 minutes twice a week.
2 Months before the Camino
You should increase the walking time to 1-2 hours once or twice a week, incorporating your basic walking gear on (bottle of water and shoes you intend to wear).
1 Month before the Camino
Walk the same time but with you gear on (food, water bottle and rain jacket).
3 weeks before the Camino
At this point distance becomes more important than the time you spend walking. Your target should be 10km. Add more gear to the pack (if you feel it’s needed).
2 Weeks before the Camino
Your target for this week should be 15km walk.
1 Week before your trip
The week before you start walking the Camino, your target should be 15-20km. Walk with your full gear so that you know what it’s like on your trip. Review any changes you feel might be needed for your gear or purchase other accessories.
Walk with the CaminoWays.com team
The CaminoWays.com team organises a free walk every month, if you are walking the Camino this year, why not join us? Check CaminoWays.com Facebook Page to find out about our next walk.
And remember, walking the Camino will be challenging but it should also be an enjoyable and unforgettable experience… a bit of preparation will definitely help you on your way. Buen Camino!