Walking the Camino is a manageable challenge that is achievable for most people, however preparing for the Camino de Santiago physically is important for your journey to be as enjoyable as possible.
There is no magic recipe when preparing for the Camino but every mile you walk before you travel will help.
Why is it important to prepare physically?
- The Camino is not particularly difficult but it is long, so increasing stamina is important: your ability to walk a few hours each day for several consecutive days comfortably.
- To reduce risk of injury such as shin splints but also blisters
- To increase your general fitness and well being
When should I start preparing for the Camino de Santiago?
- The earlier the better but a good time to start preparing for your Camino is 3 months before your trip.
- You can start with weekly walks of 1-2 hours, increasing their duration gradually each week.
- Ideally you should be walking 6 hours with your backpack the last couple of weeks before your trip. Remember this is the average time you will be walking on the Camino.
- Try to fit in some walking during the week too, if you can, even if it’s just half an hour. For instance, try to walk to or back from work; or part of the way, if it’s too far.
- Combine different types of terrain: hilly, flat, rocky, forest paths… but you can walk anywhere whether you live in the city, a town or the countryside.
- You should also get used to walking with the backpack you will take with you on the Camino, simulating the weight you will be carrying.
- Most importantly, set a walking plan that is manageable and realistic so you can stick to it for those three months ahead of your Camino trip.
- Make sure you and your walking shoes or walking boots are well acquainted and comfortable with each other, as they will be your most loyal companions (or worst enemy!) for the Camino journey.
- Walking poles or sticks are great support on long distance trails like the Camino de Santiago, as they take a considerable amount of weight off your legs. Consider either taking them to the Camino or purchasing a pair when you arrive. If you have them at home, definitely use them for your training walks, particularly the longest ones as your trip approaches.
- Another great tip is to learn and practice a few simple stretching exercises that you can do each day when you go walking and that you can also do while on the Camino de Santiago.
- Why don’t you join a local walking club or group; or recruit a few friends to go on weekly ‘preparation’ walks? Preparing for the Camino de Santiago can also be a social event!
How much training do I need?
The level of preparation needed will depend greatly on the Camino route you are walking and the number of days you will be on the trail. The Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Lugo for instance is more challenging in terms of terrain than other routes, for instance the Coastal Camino Portugues.
Walking the full 800 kms of the Camino Frances from the Pyrenees will require a much higher level of fitness and endurance than if you are walking just the last section from Sarria, which is the last 100kms of the route, on relatively easy terrain.
Don’t get overwhelmed, you CAN do this but preparing for the Camino de Santiago will make the experience much easier and enjoyable.
You can find ideas for your Camino trip here: SELF GUIDED CAMINO TOURS and our upcoming guided departures here: GUIDED CAMINO TOURS.
Our team is here to help you take the first step: talk to our knowledgeable travel specialists to start planning your Camino de Santiago trip, whether you would like to travel alone, with friends or join a group.Contact Us