Welcome to Nancy’s Camino Training Guide…for the non-athlete regular person who wants to walk all or part of the Camino Francés.
My upfront disclaimer is that I am not an athlete, not a personal trainer, and not usually even interested in exercise. But I do concede that walking the Camino is a huge physical undertaking, and it is best to be physically prepared. And I also recommend that you start now, regardless of when you plan to walk the Camino. You definitely want time on your side when it comes to preparing your body for the rigors of walking the Camino.
I think it’s important to begin the discussion of training for the Camino with a clear understanding of what, exactly, you are training for.
The Task at Hand
The Camino Francés is an 800 kilometer trail that stretches across the north of Spain. I will use kilometers throughout this discussion, since that is how distances are measured in Spain, but just so you know, 800 kilometers is about 500 miles. All distances will be approximations, as the actual distances you walk will vary based on where you start, any site-seeing diversions you take, where you stop each night, if you skip any parts of the trail, and if you take any alternative routes along the Way.
If you are walking the Camino with the intention of qualifying for the ‘Compostela’ issued by the Church, you must walk at least 100 kilometers (or cycle at least 200 kilometers, but I am assuming you are a walker). Therefore, that is the minimum we are training for. I am going to assume you will walk about or at least 20 kilometers a day and therefore that is the minimum daily distance you will be training for.
Then at the other end of the pilgrimage spectrum, you might be planning to walk the entire way from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, or even on to Fisterra. That is the full 800 kilometers, plus another 90 from Santiago to Fisterra. If you plan to walk about 20 kilometers a day, you will be walking for 40 to 44 days days. If you have a time limitation and have, as an example, only 30 days to walk, you will need to walk 27 to 30 kilometers a day.
Now, let me ask: Can you walk 20 to 25 kilometers in a day?
And more importantly: Can you walk 20 to 25 kilometers a day, every day for a month or more?
This is what you are training for!
Ready to start training? Click here for your Camino Training Guide.