Being Camino fit (or Camino unfit in my case)
Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, I could walk 25 kms-30 kms a day and feel fine. Of course, I would stop for cafe con leches or cervezas, and a little snack. Walking these distances didn’t cause too much trouble for me save for a few strains in my legs or the occasional back pain. In particular, I would relish the meseta (between Burgos and Astorga) and I suppose I still do! I have walked from the large city of Burgos to the tiny insignificant hamlet of Hontanas on two occasions; 2013 and 2015. That particular etapa (stage) is 31 kms in length which may be too far for some people, however I couldn’t get out the door of the albergue in Burgos fast enough! I thrived on it. I had music in my ears, and a spring in my step and I had a choice of beds when I arrived at my destination. People may ask me to slow down, but that’s the way I like to walk, I guess. I know of people who have walked longer, so it does depend on the person.
However, I have always wanted to bring that attitude back home. Since 2011. Walking for 25 kms a day in a beautiful country is one thing, but once I return home I drift back to the usual habits of resolutions and promises. As you know, I walked the Camino Finisterre at the start of September. It is an extension of the Camino Frances from Santiago to the coast and weighs in a 90 kms. I found this incredibly tough in stages, no matter how beautiful it is. I managed to make it to coast but I do wonder would it have been more enjoyable if I had been more Camino fit / ready. Possibly?
At present, I walk, give or take a few kms, 10 kms per week. It is recommended that if you are going to walk a Camino in the future, that you prepare. That’s not just with kit. You should be able to walk close to what you are aiming to walk on a daily basis on the Camino. Not straight away of course! But build the distance so you can manage it in Spain. It is also recommended that you carry your kit to get used to the weight.
So where does this leave me?
Well first off, I have joined a hiking group called The Challenge Hikers, a group who organise hikes in Ireland for all levels. This will be a great chance to meet people who have a love of the outdoors like myself. And maybe a few of them have walked the Camino! The more kms I walk at home, the easier it will be while in Spain!