The short answer to both questions is yes. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Our travel consultants at CaminoWays.com have prepared this useful list of practical and simple tips to help you prepare for your Camino.
For anyone planning to embark on this exciting adventure in the future, you can also download our full 6-month fitness programme.
Train for the Camino de Santiago: Some basics
Embarking on a cycling or walking journey along the Camino requires some essential preparation. To ensure you’re ready for the adventure, it’s advisable to begin your training regime about one to two months before your trip. The specific nature and intensity of your training should be tailored according to the chosen route, the length of the trail, and the specific terrain characteristics of the area you’ll be exploring.
Engaging in a training program can significantly enhance your experience. It not only prepares you physically but also plays a crucial role in minimising the likelihood of encountering common, yet easily preventable, injuries such as blisters or strained tendons.
Walking the Camino
Before embarking on your pilgrimage and walking the Camino, it is vital to properly break your walking shoes, ensuring they are well-adjusted to prevent the discomfort of blisters. If you’re already maintaining a good level of fitness, aim to undertake walks that span 3 to 4 hours in duration, ideally two to three times a week, as part of your preparation for walking the Camino. This regimen will help you build endurance and comfort for your upcoming journey.
When packing for your trip, remember to include a few essentials: a comfortable pair of walking shoes or boots, a compact backpack equipped with extra blister plasters, a refillable water bottle for hydration en route, and your pilgrim certificate for collecting those cherished stamps along the way.
Cycling the Camino
Dust off your old bicycle from the basement, challenge yourself with a few hill rides, participate in a spinning class, and ensure you complete a 20-mile/30 km cycle at least once as part of your preparation for cycling the Camino. Since the terrain can differ based on the route you select, it’s wise to consult with our travel specialists before finalising your cycling route. Key items for your cycling adventure include a pair of padded shorts for added comfort on the bike, shoes that are both comfortable and offer good grip, a water bottle for hydration, and your certificate, essential for cycling the Camino.
Training to walk the Camino
Pre-Trip Physical Training
Early Stage: Gentle Training
Begin your physical training with an emphasis on variety, incorporating both flat and mountainous terrain. If your routine already includes a walk or hike each weekend, this will be a solid foundation for your training five to six months before your trip.
Mid-Stage: Increasing Distance
Progressively increase the distance you walk each week, aiming to reach a distance of 20 km/ 12.5 miles about two weeks before your departure.
Practice with Gear
It’s important to walk with your day backpack and gear to get accustomed to the weight. Adjust your load as needed, but remember, if you’re travelling with CaminoWays.com, your main luggage will be transferred from hotel to hotel, so a day backpack for your liquids and other essentials is all you’ll need.
Stamina Building: Running and Walking
Incorporate running into your training, ideally starting in the middle of your first month. This helps in building stamina and resistance, which are crucial for the journey ahead.
Listening to Your Body
Pay close attention to your body’s signals both during training and while on the Camino. If you feel the need for a rest, it’s likely a sign that you should take one. Your body’s feedback is crucial in avoiding overexertion.
Remember if you’re looking to experience the Camino de Santiago or the Via Francigena at a more relaxed pace, we offer a Camino Easy Walking Collection which will allow you to walk at your own pace. It’s ideal for those new to walking holidays or who feel like they wouldn’t physically be able to walk 20-30km/ 12-19 miles daily. Instead, you will walk between 10-15 km/ 6-9 miles.
The Camino countdown
3 Months before the Camino
In your initial week, aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of walking. Progress to walking for 30 minutes continuously in your second week. The primary focus at this stage is to acclimatise your body to regular walking, so distance isn’t a major concern. Throughout the first month of training, your goal should be to undertake 30-40-minute walks twice a week.
2 Months before the Camino
Gradually extend your walking sessions to 1-2 hours, once or twice weekly, ensuring you wear your basic walking gear, including the shoes you plan to use and carrying a bottle of water.
1 Month before the Camino
Continue walking for the same duration, but this time with your gear (food, water bottle, and rain jacket) included.
3 weeks before the Camino
Now, the focus shifts to the distance covered rather than the duration of your walk. Aim for a target of 10km/ 6 miles. Consider adding additional gear to your pack as needed.
2 Weeks before the Camino
Your target for this week should be a 15 km/9-mile walk.
1 Week before the Camino
In the week leading up to your Camino walk, aim to cover a distance of 15-20km/ 9-12.5 miles. This should be done with all your gear, giving you a real sense of what the journey will be like. Use this time to assess your gear and make any necessary adjustments or acquire additional accessories you might need.
Remember, walking the Camino de Santiago will be challenging but it should also be an enjoyable and unforgettable experience. A bit of preparation will help you on your way. Buen Camino!
*We have designed a 6-month fitness plan with the experts to help you start training for your next Camino journey. This is a free guide for anyone interested in learning more about the fitness required for a long-distance trail.