Training for the Camino
Getting in Shape
.. hour120c ou.Though you won’t need to train hard for a Camino de Santiago, you still need to develop strength and some leg muscles so that you can hike anywhere from 20 to 30 kilometers a day. Training for the Camino takes months in advance so it is important that you make a plan and be dedicated to it.
There’s no set Camino training plan required in order to complete your journey. The Camino de Santiago is an all-inclusive experience that welcomes people of all levels of fitness. At the end of the day, the physical challenge of the Camino is about making it to Santiago de Compostela. Some people take longer than others and everyone gets there in their own time.
The training you might undertake is also dependent on the stage of the Camino that you are planning to walk. For example, you will need more practice to cross the Pyrenees than the Meseta (a relatively flat area in the middle of The French Way). Any preparation before your departure date will be a massive benefit to you during the journey and will also reduce the chances of injury. Adding in some strength and stability training will also help to keep you steady.
An important thing when training you’ll need to consider for walking the Camino is your footwear. You can either wear hiking shoes or boots depending on your personal preference. We recommend using lighter hiking shoes or even trainers on the Camino pilgrimage as they are light and durable. You can read more about how to choose the best shoe for you here.
The best way to begin your training is to start walking more and go from there. A good time to get your program started would be about 3 months before your walking holiday.
Walkers on the Camino de Santiago (peregrinos) need to prepare for three different conditions, each requiring its own training. These conditions include:
- If you are only walking for 5 or 7 days and you are walking with a tour company that moves your bags for you each day, then fitness is not a big worry.
- If you are walking the last section of the Camino, (112km from Sarria, as many do), then fitness is not such a big issue.
- For those walking the entire Camino, we suggest the following training plan. It is much more enjoyable to walk the Camino Frances or any of the longer Caminos if you have some level of fitness before you set out, however, this is not an Iron Man competition and should not be approached as such.
Training, like life, is about steady effort – not trying to make big jumps in intensity every time you train. Bear in mind walking the Camino comes a long time after our teens and twenties when we were once fit.
You, Will, Need to Train for…
- Long-distance walking day after day.
- Constant uphill and downhill on dirt paths and asphalt.
- Carrying a pack, traditionally with all of your gear or weighted with bags of sand or water bottles.
Even if you are an experienced walker, you need this specific training to prepare your body for the conditions on the Camino de Santiago. You may be able to start with longer mileage, but you need to build up time with the gear you will use on the Camino.
Steadily building up time will reduce your risk of injury in training.
The hills, natural surface, and weather conditions require training. Don’t just go to Spain and “let the Camino train you.”
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