How to prepare physically and mentally to do the Camino de Santiago? Here are some useful tips
Every time we see a pilgrim with his backpack on his back, it is inevitable to ask ourselves what has brought him to the Camino de Santiago? What pushed you to take a walk to the Cathedral of Santiago? We all have different motivations to put on our boots; Some seek adventure, live an experience with their partner or friends, others leave home alone to outdo themselves, others are moved by religious fervor and others simply arrive wanting to know another culture.
All the pilgrims take different routes to the Camino de Santiago, but once in the box of departure, how can the conditions in all the kilometers that wait for us in Santiago last? Here are some basic tips to get to the Camino de Santiago.
Before leaving home with your backpack in tow, make sure you have prepared your body and mind for the challenge. The physical preparation for the Camino de Santiago that you need is fundamental so as not to come down to you in the middle of the Camino; To be able to enjoy the conditions of this adventure you must carry out a training plan with sufficient margin to face your adventure with all the guarantees. The training is what requires more advance when preparing the Camino de Santiago; Later you will have time to worry about the credential or the contents of your backpack.
If you suffer from any pathology or if your age is advanced, a medical check-up before starting to train is essential. If it is not your case, but you do not exercise regularly visit your doctor and pass a recognition is still highly recommended; think that you are going to subject your body to an effort that you are not used to. You will spend days (or weeks) walking daily, subjecting your heart, muscles and joints to a remarkable effort, so do not take this point lightly.
You must start your training several months before (at least 2) at the beginning of the Camino de Santiago. During this time of preparation you must accustom your body to a continuous training plan. You must go out to walk periodically, being constant; It is no use to stick a good beating the last week before leaving the Camino and for that we recommend that with a calendar in hand plan your walks. In it you can cross out your completed trainings day by day, so that you can carry out a simple and visual follow-up of your progression.
First of all, keep in mind that the average duration of the stages of the Camino de Santiago is between 23 and 25 km. Your goal will be to walk that distance, but at the end of your training period, whose difficulty should increase as the weeks progress.
In the preparation that we recommend, another factor comes into play, the distance that you are going to travel on the Camino de Santiago, During the first weeks, get used to going out at least 3 days / week walking more and more distances (with any smartphone with GPS and a fitness app you can control this easily) and by different types of surfaces. Around half of your preparation time, you should be leaving at least 4 days / week walking through different types of slopes. In your last weeks of training, closer and closer to the time of departure, it is highly recommended to walk with a backpack loaded with 10% of your body weight.
During these weeks and especially when you walk the Camino de Santiago, do not forget the stretches (avoid injuries and contractures). You should practice stretching sessions before and especially after walking, concentrating especially on back, neck and specific muscle groups such as quadriceps, twins or hamstrings. After walking it is also advisable to massage our feet for a few minutes to download them.
The intake of food and liquids in the Camino is vital to avoid fainting, dehydration and even cramps while walking. However, it is also in your preparation, during those weeks in which you will begin to condition your body for what awaits you later on. Drinking 2 liters of water per day is healthy, but doing it during these weeks of training is essential to always bring optimal hydration; we do not want an untimely injury to leave us at home, right? You should also take care of what you eat, taking a diet similar to what you should take while doing the Camino: avoid heavy meals and opt for a diet rich in carbohydrates and legumes.
The footwear for the Camino de Santiago that you carry with you is fundamental in your pilgrimage, we have already talked about that long and long in ViveCamino. However it is useless to wear the right shoes if we make the mistake of releasing it the day we start the Camino de Santiago, since the chafing and the blisters are assured. Al Camino has to wear relatively used footwear, so if you plan to buy new boots, it is imperative that you wear them from the beginning of your training; that way they will take the shape of your foot and they will not be so hard.
You have already completed your training, you have put on your boots and backpack and you have started walking. Now is the best of the experience, but no matter how much you have trained, you must remember that the Camino de Santiago is not a race, it is a personal challenge against ourselves. Each pilgrim has a different form derived from his age, weight or physical tone (which we have trained the previous weeks); These factors are what should set the pace at which we should walk.
We must take into account the difficulty of each stage and be alert to signs of fatigue that the body can emit. If we walk in a group or in pairs, we must always follow the rhythm of the slowest and in no case take us to the limit. Put aside the overexertion and protect yourself from injuries.
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