Monday, June 30, 2014

Camino preparation/Training

Whilst i did meet one or 2 (young) people on the Camino that had done little or no training i do believe that for the average person a good deal of training will pay off in getting you fit and making the journey easier and more pleasurable, I first decided that i would walk the Camino De Santiago in September 2012 and would actually do the walk in April 2014, That gave me ample time to prepare physically and mentally and also test my gear thoroughly, I was somewhat of a couch potato before but have always enjoyed a challenge and soon loved to get out early and start walking, My first walk was a 4 miler and after that i walked 6 mile circuits 3-4 times a week, After a month or so i increased this to 8 and 10 mile walks, I averaged 30+ miles a week for many months and increased this in the winter of 2013 where i would walk 40+ miles a week with the longest walk at 18 miles and the longest week at 60+ miles, I dropped nearly 15 lb  in weight from my original weight and was 10 lb down when i actually started the walk, I gained some weight in the month before i left as i had some arthritis in my big toe and had to rest it, My theory was that the more weight i lost the easier it would be carrying a backpack, i.e if the backpack was 20lb and i lost 20lb it would no difference, I live in North Carolina and where i live its as flat as Belgium, I tried to find as many hills as i could but nothing will prepare you for the first days climb over the Pyrenees, I do not think that you can over train if you live in flat country, I walked over 100 miles a week when on the Camino and yet my longest week training was only 60 miles, Your body soon adjusts when on the Camino but training will certainly help, I trained in all conditions from very hot (80) to very cold (-5) and also in rain to test all of my gear and make adjustments as needed, The more time you take fine tuning your gear the better your Camino will be, I met many people blistered on the first day and i can tell you from experience that walking on blisters for days is not fun, Walk in the footwear that you will use on the Camino and carry your backpack whilst training with a similar weight to what you expect to carry, If you do blister in training at least it will give you a chance to learn how to deal with it and learn why you blistered, Time will always be an issue unless you are retired, I would walk 10 miles in a little over 3 hours, On the Camino you will be walking 6-8 hours so try to do longer slower walks on the weekends, Start at 6.30-7am and walk until 1.30-2pm taking plenty of breaks for snacks and always make sure that you drink a lot of water, This will be an average day on the Camino, Well it was for me and in that time i would cover around 30km, Most people on the Camino had a longer schedule than i had, If you walk from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago which is around 500miles divide the distance by the days you have and work on that allowing rest days and if you want to carry on to Finisterre then allow an extra 60 miles, I felt great fitness wise from the getgo, Sure the first day or two are tough but the journey is very doable for anybody at most ages if you allow enough time and get some fitness training in


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