Several people have kindly suggested that perhaps my training agenda in my recent post was a bit over the top. I love to walk, so I walk a lot, maybe more than is necessary for training. Some might characterize my regimen as excessive, or perhaps obsessive, so here is what I think is a minimum that you might consider in preparation for the Camino.
Do some kind of regular walking - to accustom the body, and to encourage the happy hormones.
Walk at least 100 km, over a number of days, in the shoes you plan to wear. After each walk, take off the shoes and look for any red or hot spots on your feet and ankles. Are your shoes big enough? Would you benefit from 2 pairs of socks? Or perhaps try vaseline the next time. My feet were vaselined every morning on the Camino.
Practice with your poles. You will be able to go farther, faster, and it will take some of the weight from your feet, hips and knees.
Find someone, or a group, who has walked the Camino, so you can listen and learn, and share your own plans. Going through your packed backpack with a veteran can also be very helpful. Attending an information session can answer a lot of questions and allay some fears.
Get your backpack, try it out, and get help getting it fitted. When you are sure it works for you, and fits you well, start wearing it while walking. Gradually fill it up, so that by the time you leave, you have walked with the weight you will carry on the Camino. Aim for approximately 10% of your body weight, and remember that the weight will grow as you add water and snacks.
Walk 2 hours. Then walk 2 hours with your backpack. Then walk 3, then 4 hours, then 5 hours with your backpack. Then walk 5 hours on 2 consecutive days. Track the distance, so that you know that you can walk 20 kms on 2 consecutive days. If you can do that and enjoy it, you will be ready.
You could always do more to prepare. Some people show up in untried equipment and make it. And then, some people have to give up as a result of injuries, chronic conditions that flare up, accidents, and just plain doing too many kms. I am a prudent pilgrim. I go prepared. But truly, I am training not just for an upcoming Camino, but for life.
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