4 Things to Remember for Your Camino Walk
So, you’ve booked your place on this year’s Camino walk. Now it’s time to start preparing your mind and body for this wonderful challenging experience.
Some pilgrims often underestimate the preparation needed for Camino de Santiago. Our experts here at Joe Walsh Tours have put together some frequently asked questions to help you plan for your journey...
1. How long is the walking distance each day and how should I train?
The average walking distance is 20km per day. Although, there is one very long day along the Camino that is approximately 28km. In the lead up to your Camino, we recommend steadily building up the distance you can walk by covering approximately 4 to 8 km, 2 to 3 evenings a week. Those who can manage 12 to 15km comfortably on a long walk are usually fine when it comes to completing the Camino.
There are many rest stops along each route, so you will be able to stop for short breaks regularly.
We would recommend doing some longer walks on hilled terrain to get used to walking trails. The Camino walks tend to start off steep and then level off, before sloping down towards your finish town each evening.
For the very long day of 28km, you may find it a bit tiring, but you will have plenty of time to complete the walk and again, plenty of time for rest stops. With the group starting around 9:00am or 9:30am, you should get done for around 17:30pm or 18:00pm with rest stops.
2. What if I can’t finish the walk on any day?
If you find any walk too difficult, the guide can assist you in arranging a taxi either to the finish town of that days walk, or back to the hotel.
While the trail goes along forest paths and other rural walkways, it is never too far from a road where a taxi can collect you.
3. What type of footwear should I bring?
We would recommend having some form of ankle support while walking the Camino. While not the toughest trail in the world, there are still a couple of steeper sections and parts with loose stones. Even on flatter parts of the walk, it would be possible to twist an ankle on small stones. Walking boots would provide the support needed, but often people can find them a bit heavy. If using a runner or lighter walking shoe, do try to bring something with ankle support.
Please make sure not to buy new footwear in the weeks leading up to the trip. Buy new shoes at least 2 months in advance so you have time to wear them in and soften them a bit.
4. What type of clothing should I bring
The main point to note when packing for the Camino, is to wear a number of light layers. If you choose to just wear a t-shirt, with a heavy jacket over it, you’ll find yourself either too cold or too warm at different times during the day.
Light base layers are the best thing to start with. Over this, an insulating middle layer will help keep you warm. At very warm times during the day this can be removed. Finally, an outer shell layer which protects from rain and wind and offers a little more heat is also necessary for the coldest parts of the day, or during rain showers.
When walking the Camino, you will start most of your walks in the morning at around 9:00am, when the temperature will be lower. Also, as the towns are in valleys, there may be fog. For this reason you’re going to need to be well wrapped up for the start of the day, so wearing all three layers will be necessary.
As the steepest part of the days walk is often right at the beginning, you’re going to start to warm up within 10 to 20 minutes, so at this point you may wish to remove the outer layer. As you get closer to the middle of the day and you’re walking when the sun is higher and brighter, your base layer may be enough. When you stop for breaks, you will find that your temperature can drop quickly, so it’s good to put back on a layer or two as soon as you stop.
Hats and gloves are also useful to keep you at the right temperature while walking; or you could also consider a trekking headscarf, which can be worn as a hat or scarf.
In relation to trousers, light trekking pants which have zips to remove the part below the knee are also practical. They tend to dry easily if they get wet, and don’t take up too much space in your luggage. We also suggest bringing enough good quality comfortable socks. Some walkers like to change their socks half way through the days walk. Any good outdoor store can give you advice on the best clothing options for your walk.
Finally, enjoy yourself! This is a magnificent achievement that you will remember forever, so make the most of your journey.
Haven’t booked yet? Check out our 2019 Camino dates here! Or, if you have any further questions about the Camino, get in touch to ask our experts anything.
Joe Walsh Tours
(01) 241 0800