Your Essential Camino Fitness Bible
So you’ve seen the films, you may have read the books and your friends are telling you all about the magic of the trail and The Camino de Santiago. You know you want to go but first, you stop to ask yourself one question; Am I fit enough to walk the Camino? Don’t worry because our Camino Fitness Bible is here to help you!
The truth is that the Camino is doable for just about anyone, it all depends on your fitness level and the route you are taking. Some Camino routes are suitable for shorter walking days as they have less challenging terrain and are a little easier on the feet.
While it’s no small feat, training for the Camino de Santiago and getting your fitness to a comfortable level in order to tackle the Way of St James is more than possible and we’re here to help you achieve that goal so that you are ready for your Camino adventure. It’s time to get Camino ready and prepare for the most rewarding and physically challenging adventure of your life. Santiago de Compostela is waiting for you!
Just Start & Then Get To Know Your Level
Walking the Camino de Santiago is an aspirational goal for many and it’s not without its challenges. Unless you regularly walk 20km a day, you are going to need to train for the Camino. It can be daunting trying to physically prepare for a challenge as big as the Camino de Santiago, something that could be the longest walk of your life. If you are physically prepared, you will get more enjoyment out of the whole experience.
The best way to discover your fitness level is to lace up your walking shoes and hit the trail locally. See how far you can walk and what kind of terrain you find the most difficult. This will give you a great starting point. From here, you can make your plan of action for your Camino training.
Make a Plan & Expand Your Knowledge
It’s a good idea to grab a notebook or your favourite online note-taking app and make a rough plan of action for your Camino fitness journey and what your goals are. This can help focus your mind and your training and having a set of goals or tasks can be a strong motivator.
Our Camino Fitness ebook is free to download and is packed full of useful workout routines, exercises and a step-by-step workout plan for your next Camino. The book also covers stretching techniques, what to wear and the all-important nutrition. The ebook takes you through a 6-month fitness journey so that you’re ready to set off on your Camino as soon as you reach your Camino starting point.
Am I Fit Enough to Walk The Camino? Get Moving & Find Out
When you book your Camino de Santiago adventure, make sure you leave enough time for training. While it may seem daunting, you’d be surprised how much your fitness level can improve with 6 months of training. The best approach, especially at the beginning, is to simply get out and start walking (or cycling if you plan to cycle the Camino). If you are walking the Camino, you’re going to want to build up to being able to comfortably walk 20km a day. Start small with your Camino training and gradually build up your KM.
It’s also recommended that you practice your walking in the shoes you plan to wear on the Camino (don’t use brand new shoes for your Camino, you need to break them in first!). It’s also worth carrying a backpack with you on your walks, ideally the day pack you plan to bring on the Camino. You can fill this backpack with snacks, a water bottle and a few other small things. This will give you the best possible preparation with the least amount of surprises. Use our 6-month fitness plan for inspiration (It’s the ultimate Camino fitness bible) and goals for your walking prep. For additional motivation and to track your progress, you can use a pedometer or a fitness tracker, but it’s not essential.
Stretching is one of the most important parts of your preparation for the Camino. If you neglect stretching, the muscle may cause you pain, especially with prolonged strain. We have a video about useful stretches you can add to your preparation routine. If you do your stretches, you will be more likely to avoid common injuries and issues associated with walking.
Some common issues that arise when walking the Camino include heel pain, shin splints, knee pain and more. Many of these issues can be caused by flat feet. We asked a fitness specialist to give us the best tips and tricks to manage flat feet while walking the Camino de Santiago. He offers information and some useful tips to help you make the most out of your feet – after all, they are pretty important for walking! So make sure you take some time to learn the proper ways to stretch. Don’t let an injury ruin your Camino experience.
As well as exercise, make sure that your fitness plan includes looking after your nutrition. Food fuels your body and the better you eat, the more nourished your body will be. In turn, you will be able to walk faster and for longer. There are three main food groups you need to ensure you are consuming in order to fully nourish your body during your training.
These are proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Our fitness ebook contains some advice about nutrition but do speak to your doctor or health professional if you are planning any drastic changes to your diet. As well as food, make sure to stay hydrated and drink enough water every day. Sleep is instrumental to your physical and mental well-being and a good night’s sleep will do you the world of good as you prepare for your Camino.
Stay Motivated – Am I Fit Enough to Walk The Camino?
One of the most important aspects of any fitness plan is motivation. It can be hard to find the motivation to begin with and it can also be difficult to continue when things get tough. If you’re struggling to find motivation, it might help if you visualize your goals for this fitness journey: walking the Camino de Santiago and having a wonderful experience. We have a tip for finding your motivation before and during your Camino experience which might help. You might also find some motivation from our favourite Camino walking quotes!
We hope you enjoyed reading our Camino Fitness Bible and that you find the linked articles of use to you in your fitness journey. Pretty soon you won’t need to ask ‘Am I fit enough to walk the Camino?’ because you will be!
If you would like some more information about the Camino routes or if you need help planning your next Camino adventure, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also stay up-to-date with our latest news and events on our Facebook Page.