How I Trained for the Camino
I know I’m not the only person in the world carrying a heavy load of, “I wish I would-haves,” but as I get ready for my Camino walk – or as I like to call it, my Spanish Schlep, I’m really starting to have doubts and my inner loop is stuck on “I wish I would have trained more.”
If you look up training for the Camino there are loads and loads of plans and most of them look something like this:
- Week 1: Walk 3 days 45-60 min each
- Week 2: Walk 4 days, 45-60 min each
- Week 3: Walk 4 days 60 mins each
- Week 4: Walk 3 days Up & Down hills 60 min each
- Week 5: Walk 4 days and increase the pace
- Week 6: Walk 4 days at a quick pace for 60 mins each AND add in a Pilates/Yoga class once a week
- Week 7: Same as week 6 but add a light backpack, less than 9lbs
- Week 8: Walk 4 days at a moderate pace – aim for 70 mins
- Week 9: Walk 4 days but one should be 5 miles, and one 16 miles
- Week 10: Amp up the distance – aim for one walk at least 12 miles with light backpack, less than 10lbs
- Week 11: Walk 4 days – splitting up the pace but pushing for one walk to last for at least 3 hours with a 10lbs backpack
- Week 12: Nearing the end so take it easy. 4 Walks hopefully in the hills, with the shortest being 60 minutes, the longest 2 hours with a 10lbs backpack
Ummm I didn’t do that.
I walked around my neighborhood, headed up to the hills outside Boulder, Colorado and did something that none of those plans suggested – I took my teen daughter with me.
There is nothing like trying to keep up with a young, headstrong, confident college girl.
My daughter could give any drill sergeant a run for their money. There was no coddling, no gentle words of encouragement, and no room for slacking. She worked me to death. And I couldn’t be more proud or more thankful.
I may not have trained the “proper” way, but I wouldn’t trade my training sessions with my girl for all the wine in Spain!
Five things you need to know about Camino “training”
- It’s all about the feet – you need good shoes/boots. Seriously, this is not a drill – get a good pair of shoes. I’m on my 5th pair! I went to REI so many times, they put up my photo as “Least Wanted Customer.” I am heading out with a pair of Merrell Moab Ventilator – not the most expensive, but the most comfortable for me.
- Socks – they’re just as important as your boots. A pack of crews just won’t cut it. You need the real deal – invest in a pair of legit hiking socks. My favorites – the Smartwool Hiking Socks from REI.
- Forget about the frilly ones – moisture wicking underwear is your best friend. I became obsessed with finding the right tighty whities and tried them all: Under Armour, Patagonia, Exofficio. I researched this so much, I found a forum where military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan discuss how to avoid swampass. Thank you for your service!
- You are what you carry. Finding the right backpack is like finding a good husband – you don’t want any pains, no heavy lifting and something that feels good when it’s wrapped around you. Again, I shopped at REI and was professionally fitted. These folks are incredible – I tried on more than a dozen backpacks until I found “the one”- yep, it’s just like dating. After two or three dates, I finally fell in love with and committed to the Osprey Kyte 36 Ladies Backpack.
- Fill ‘er up. Don’t forget the basics – make sure you’re fueled up for the walk. Eat protein, stay hydrated and listen to your body. Too many times I skipped breakfast or forgot my water – all those efforts ended in disaster: I was too weak to walk, or I was cranky, I even suffered heat stroke. Learn from my mistakes – Eat, drink and get out there – it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other.
So, I feel like I’m stalking you. The only thing that differs between your guide recs and mine is the shoes…but not by much. I’m a Keen gal (Targhees https://www.rei.com/product/824845/keen-targhee-ii-wp-hiking-shoes-womens). And I’m also with you. I only shop at REI.
No greater compliment than a fellow hiker “stalking” and sharing shoe notes! Thank you
I can’t wait to see your travels! And hopefully not your blisters!