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Training for Camino de Santiago

Posted by on 31 Oct 2019 , in Europe

Camino de Santiago is a popular pilgrimage in Spain and Portugal. It’s done by travelling through the ancient pathways leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James. There are several ways this can be undertaken such as taking a tour van, riding a bike, or the more traditional way of walking the entire way.

There are different routes such as the pathway from Sarria to Santiago and the path from Burgos to Santiago. Each of these routes offer unique experiences of being able to appreciate the scenic views of the country and getting up close and personal with historic villages and sights. What they have in common is the fact that, even if it is welcoming to all people of varying levels of fitness, it is a physical challenge and getting doing some training is ideal.

When to Start

People who are planning to do the Camino de Santiago should start training as soon as they can by at least walking for a few hours a week. But for a proper timeline, 3 months before departure date is the best time to train.

The First Four Weeks

This period of training should be the easiest. It is recommended to start out slow and steady as not to over exert the body.

During weekdays, try to walk as much as possible. Maybe get off the bus going to the office one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. These small changes will get the body comfortable in doing some extra walking.

The weekends is where it’s at though. In the first weekend, walk an hour on flat terrain for each day. This should go up to 2 hours on the second week, 3-4 hours on the third, and 4-5 on the fourth weekend.

The Second Four Weeks

This is where it gets rolling. The goal during the weekdays is to walk at least an hour for two days. Ideally this is set on Tuesday and Thursday so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are rest days which helps to build up the muscles. Of course if you enjoy walking then still go ahead on these days.

During the weekends, the goal is to walk 3-4 hours on gentle hills and slopes each day. A lot of the terrain during Camino involves hills so this will help a lot.

The Third Four Weeks

Now it’s time to up the ante by really training for the hills. First, walk 1-2 hours during the weekdays to build up stamina.

Once the weekend hits, the goal is to do 5-6 hours on hilly terrain during Saturdays and 3-4 hours on gentle hills during Sundays.

Speed

Remember that Camino de Santiago is more about the distance rather than a race. It is important to get there and walk at a comfortable pace to preserve energy.

The Gear

During the actual Camino de Santiago, you will be carrying a pack with a number of items so it is ideal to wear one as well during training to get used to it. This will also allow you to check if the pack you plan to use can cause uncomfortable chaffing and how to properly adjust it.

Wear lightweight athletic shoes with comfortable padding. It’s best to get a new pair once the training starts. It is recommended to have two pairs of the same model and alternate them during training. This also allows you to have a spare during the actual Camino.

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