A great part of those pilgrims willing to walk the Camino de Santiago do it during their holidays it is therefore crucially important to achieve a great physical preparation to enjoy the path and make the most of your wanted vacation.
A good training will allow you to do it with lower effort and will also let you set your mind free to wander and admire the views. The training may vary depending on the total number of kilometres you wish to walk, thus it will be different if you start from Saint Jean Pied de Port (approximately 785kms) or if you start from Sarria (113kms).
Other aspects that need to be taken into consideration are the age, the fitness of each walker, the distance that must be done in each stage and the mere fact of walking alone or with company, since it’s much more enjoyable and makes it easier; we should also remind you that the Camino is not a competition, we recommend you to stop regularly to drink water so as to keep hydrated, eat some food and rest.
The average distance of the stages of the Camino is normally between 20 and 25kms, some may extend up to 30kms. For this reason it’s important to prepare well in advance in order to hike several consecutive days without risk of injury.
Footwear is one of the most important factors to achieve successfully your goal therefore it’s essential to use comfortable walking shoes that you should have worn previously. Choosing the proper size is highly recommended, as feet tend to swell if you walk for hours. The footwear used during your training must be the same you’ll use for your walk on the Camino, it’s simply not appropriate to wear new shoes. We also suggest you to wear proper hiking socks, not too thin or too thick; these must fit properly your feet to avoid blisters and sores.
Wearing a backpack and its weight should be taken into account too. If you don’t use the luggage transfer service and bring all your belongings with you it’s necessary to practice the last weeks with the approximate weight that will support your back. In this case we advise you to bring what is absolutely necessary and organise so as to distribute the weight evenly.
Down below we propose an indicative training that we recommend you to start at least 2 months before walking the Camino, this training is progressive for those who are not used to walk. It is advisable to start walking through plain places and if it’s possible go for a walk in the countryside on the longer distances of the weekend so that your legs grow accustomed to the slopes of the Camino.
During the first four weeks we suggest you to walk three days a week, then the next three weeks you may add another walking day and the last week will be more relaxed so that you’ll arrive with more strength.
It’s fundamental to warm up before you start walking, you may start for example with rotations of the joints commonly used while hiking such as ankles, knees, hips, trunk, shoulders and neck. At the end of the session you should also stretch adequately for 10 or 15 minutes, this shall also be done after each stage of the Camino in order to avoid stiffness and possible injuries.