Training Plan for the Camino de Santiago

How fit do I have to be to walk the Camino de Santiago or what kind of training do I have to do?  This is one of the questions I am asked most often.

The answer depends on your Camino plan.

  1. How long do you want to take?
  2. Are you walking the whole way?

If you have a lot of time say 40 days or more you don’t need to have good fitness, you can risk getting fit as you walk, this is what most people do – however, this is not a good or advisable strategy for looking after your body, finishing, or reducing the inevitable pain that comes with walking every day and carrying a backpack.

The last time I was fit was towards the end of the Camino Frances.

The last time I was fit was towards the end of the Camino Frances.

If you are only walking for 5 or 7 days and you are walking with a tour company that moves your bags for you each day, then fitness is not a big worry.  Even if you are walking the last section of the Camino, (112km from Sarria, as many do), then fitness is not a big issue.

For the rest of us, I suggest the following training plan.  It is much more enjoyable to walk the Camino Frances or any of the longer Caminos if you have some level of fitness before you set out, however, this is not an Iron Man competition and should not be approached as such.

It is a good idea to start training at least 3 months before you start your Camino.

Training, like life, is about steady effort – not trying to make big jumps in intensity every time you train.  Bear in mind for a lot of us walking the Camino comes a long time after our teens and twenties when we were once fit – it is not helpful to compare against that previous fitness.

You are starting from where you are, I was 40+ the first time I walked.

12 Week Training Schedule

Fit yourself anywhere into the following program.  I am not a qualified doctor or training instructor, this program has been adapted from my half marathon training from a zero fitness start.

Note: from week 4 all walks should include walking up and down hills if you cannot do this perhaps try a treadmill.

Week 1 – walk three days for between 45min and 60 min, Tue Fri and Sun

Week 2 – walk 4 days, 45 to 60 min, Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun

Week 3 – walk 4 days 3 at 60 min Tue, Fri, Sat, and Sun walk for 2 hrs

Week 4 -Walk 3 days up and down hills 60 min, Tue, Fri, and Sun

Week  5 – 4 days walking. Tue 60 min fast 6km hr, Wed 45 easy, Fri 60 moderate, Sun 2.5 hrs in hills

Week 6 – try to add a Pilates or yoga class once a week, this will help your back and core.  4 days walking. Tue 60 min fast 6km hr, Wed easy 60 min, Fri fast 60 min 6km hr, Sun 3 hrs in hills with a light backpack, less than 4kg.

Week 7 – Same as week 6 with 60 or 120 min easy on Wed.

Week 8 – 4 days walking. Tue moderate 70 min, Thur fast 60 min 6km hr, Sat 2 hrs in hills, Sun 3 hrs in hills with light backpack, less than 4kg

Week 9 – 4 days walking. Tue and Thu easy 60 min, Sat 2 hrs in hills aim for 4km hr total of 8km, Sun 4 hrs in hills 16km with light backpack, less than 4kg

Week 10 – Tue easy 60 min, Thu fast 60 min 6 km, Sat 2.5 hrs in hills 10 km, Sunday 5 hrs in hills 20km with light backpack, less than 5kg

Week 11- Tue easy 45 min, Thu moderate 60 min, Sat easy 3 hrs with backpack aim for 10km, Sun 5hrs with your backpack of about 5/6 kg – aim for 20km.

Week 12 – Take it easy, Tue fast 60 min, Thu moderate 30 min, Sat 2hrs in hills, Sun 90 min easy in hills – both sat and sun with your backpack about 6 kg.

This program is designed for beginners to get you to a point where the first few days on the Camino will not be a blur of pain.  However, nothing can really prepare us for walking about 20+ km every day with a 6 to 8 kg pack, (14 to 20 lbs).  The first week is going to be tough, though it gets better very quickly – after about a week or so.

Once on the Camino de Santiago, there is one main point to remember DO NOT RUSH. Muscle strain is more likely when you are pushing your body by moving too fast, listen to your body, water it and feed it well, and take rests when required. I ate very well while on the Camino and still lost about 18lbs – a great side benefit.

What was your training like before setting out on the Camino?  Let us know in the comments below.

Please bear in mind that I am not a doctor or a fitness adviser – I am just a guy who likes walking, cycling, and a bit of jogging.

My last point is no pain no gain is rubbish.  If your fitness is going to be a habit then pain is the last thing you want.

If something is difficult for me every time I do it, I will stop doing that thing – whatever it is.  Making it easy for yourself and you have more chance of developing a habit. Start out by doing less than you know you can do.

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  1. Pauline on January 22, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Only 7 pounds, but I had been in the gym the whole year leading up to the camino so in all I lost over 20 pounds. I gained it back quickly after my return. I ate good food but too much bread and sugar.

  2. Kerstin on January 22, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I am used to hiking in mountains, carry heavy back pack and walk long distances. Last year I did about half of Camino Frances.
    I agree that fitness is not a big issue, BUT I learnt a couple of lessons. Walking on a hard surface is a completely different thing, than to walk in nature. Distances and load that are no problems on a soft surface, is killing on a hard one.
    What I learnt was:
    1. Shorter distances than you plan.
    2. Walk slower than usual: when walking fast, you “hit” the ground with more force, than when walking slowly. Your feet start hurting more easily.
    3. Carry less than you plan. The load adds to the force your feet meet the ground with.

    • Marian Brady on January 14, 2015 at 11:39 am

      I agree with all these observations. We did the whole camino in 2013 and while we didn’t get any significant injuries or blisters, some days we walked way too far and it was hot hot hot! When we go back we are really going to pace ourselves, we are in the 60plus category but didn’t find that an issue.
      We didn’t lose an once of weight though, too much good eat ing and drinking along the way!!!!

      • Peggy on January 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm

        So glad to hear your age range! My (very fit) 68 year old husband is planning to walk the Camino de Santiago in September with our kids (ages 42 to 34). Do-able? P

        • Mo on May 29, 2017 at 1:59 pm

          Starting my Camino Portuguese from Lisbon on 6 September. I agree with all of these observations. I would highly recommend walking 50minutes – resting 10 minutes with feet elevated. I learned to do this during long route marches, while in the infantry. At 68 years of age I might just do 45 walking – 15 resting.

        • John on July 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

          Definitely do-able. I did the last 260Km two years ago when I was 69 and will be back in September starting from San Jean Pied-de-port. Buen Camino

        • John Hawke on January 15, 2018 at 11:11 am

          Oh yes, I walked the entire Camino Frances in 2016 starting on my 72nd Birthday. I will do it again this year but allow 6 weeks instead of 5 to see more.
          Buen Camino

          • Peter Ellis on February 2, 2018 at 1:14 am

            …just as a matter of interest, John, when will you be on the Camino THIS year? I’ll be ‘walking’ between August 22/23, until hopefully the first week of October..I’m due to be 73 in the November. Peter ( Ellis. UK.)

        • lou on January 15, 2018 at 4:08 pm

          Peggy, Reasonably fit, I did it at 68 last year, beginning at St. Jean Pied de Port ending in Santiago, in April-May: 35 days including one rest day in Astoria. Perfectly doable.

        • Darlene on January 15, 2018 at 9:56 pm

          I walked the Camino for the 4th time with my daughter (41) and my grandson, age 9 in August 2016. He got his certificate for 178 kms. I then did the Camino Ingles and worked as a volunteer at Rabanal – I was 70. I am going back to walk the Portuguese in April 2018. My training is constant, but my daughter, a teacher, had little time to train and still did great – we had no blisters or injuries. Go for it!

    • Franz on August 3, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Kersti,
      this is Franz from Germany
      If you are Kersti, who went the camino together with your sister Toby in July 2015 I would be pleased to hear, how your Camino got on since we lost track of us.

  3. Lee Anne on January 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Leslie and all who are planning a Camino – it does not disappoint, in fact what you see and experience will go beyond what any book can prepare you for!
    I walked my Camino last year – June 1 to 28, from Pamplona to Santiago. When it comes to training – I agree completely, at least 3 months of getting yourself ready to WALK every day is essential.
    I would add only a couple of things to your list/training schedule: find your BOOTS, wear your boots (always when doing your training walks – to work – just around). They are your constant companion and can be your best friend….or not! After wearing them (a lot) for 3 months – your feet KNOW them. I picked a pair of Solomon Ultra-lite hiking boots. I have small feet and they were the ones that fit and felt the best – everyone’s feet are different – so only you can know what works for you.
    My one other suggestion to add to your list is – at least one weekend in that final month before you go to Spain – walk 20 km in a stretch and then walk another at least 10 km the following day with your pack and poles if you are taking them (which I strongly suggest). Take your water bottles and snacks – this is going to be at least 5 hours on the 20 km day.
    All the one and two hour walks are great to build a little stamina – but you need to FEEL what 20 km is like and what the next day of 10 – 20 km feels like – you need to know how you and your feet and your shoulders feel. This gives you the chance to make any adjustments BEFORE you are in Spain trying to work out any ‘distance walking’ kinks. For me it was one of the smartest things I did – on the second day of my practice long walk, I took special notice of any red areas on my feet. After all, any spots that were bothersome after 2 days would be even more so after 28 days!!! I started the Camino doing a ‘buddy wrap’ of the little toe and the one beside it on one foot – this small detail saved me untold amounts of agony. I made sure that I had in my med. kit enough of the very thin, very light ‘paper-type’ adhesive tape and I taped those two every morning. Walking 3 hours hadn’t given me the indication that I would need to do that.
    Walking the Saturday 20 km followed by another 20 km on Sunday also made me realize that there was a little adjusting to do on my pack. I added a little extra padding on the front of the straps – at about the shoulder area – easy to do when you are home with all your favorite shops to find stuff at – not so easy to retrofit if you are rubbing the heck out of your shoulders and you are somewhere between Navara and Burgos!
    Buen Camino!!! You will enjoy it all – even the steep parts!

    • Leslie on January 23, 2014 at 5:58 am

      Thanks Lee Anne, these are great suggestions. Esp finding and fixing things at home rather once away.

    • Claudette Estrada on February 25, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Dear Lee Anne, All of this information is so helpful. I would also like to know what outer apparel you would suggest to purchase (for June) even though you traveled in the winter. Also the good insert sleeping sheet, lightweight back pack. Also did you carry/use your own sleeping bag?if that is what you would suggest. What about drinking water. How would you suggest is the best way to carry?

      • Leslie on February 26, 2015 at 8:27 am


        you will find the answers to all your questions on the forum –

        I hope that helps.

      • Lee Anne on February 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm

        Hi Claudette – My Camino experience started with my first step on June 1 and I arrived in Santiago d’C on June 28 – so, about the same time of year as you will head out. I did take a sleeping bag – but a summer weight one – which was cloth only on the bottom and light fill on the top – very light weight and rolled up very very small – which is always appreciated. For outer wear, I took just a wind breaker zip-up with a hood. I did have one long sleeved fleece with me – for the cooler mornings. Also, the sun can be quite intense, especially in the higher altitudes and by mid- to late-June, so do take with you a ‘light weight’ breathable, looser fitting, long sleeved shirt – otherwise you may end up with sunburn on your arms. It does have to be light weight and breathable – as the camino is work – no two ways about it. Drinking water – I carried a runner’s water bottle (only one) and at every restaurant/bar I stopped at, I asked them to fill it (or filled it myself if the water tap was accessible). Drink a lot – it’s important – but there are so many ‘rest stops’ along the way, refilling is not a problem. Do remember to refill however – you don’t want to be out there on the path and thirsting! One last little tip which was essential to me. I walked with my poles almost every step – even on the flat stuff – so for me it was necessary to have gloves (the kind with the fingers off) just enough protection so that I didn’t get blisters. Worked for me! Do have a WONDERFUL Camino – it is an experience and an accomplishment that you will always treasure. Be kind to yourself along the way and remember, walking/pushing past your comfort threshold only hurts – sometimes more the next 2 days than on the day. If you need a short day every 4 or 5 days – gift yourself a short day – this is your Camino, do it your way.

        • Gwen on April 26, 2015 at 10:11 pm

          I can’t thank you enough. . I’ll be leaving in Sept. After 2 glasses of wine in April I am beside myself with excitement

          • Leslie on April 27, 2015 at 5:13 am

            Have a great walk.

    • Mae on March 11, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Am going in Sept. and this is very helpful

    • Micki Jerry on April 30, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Really great suggestions! I am learning so much just planning and preparing for my Camino. Can you tell me the need for your toe wrap? Was it cramping, rubbing? I am a runner and the whole walking thing is new to me, so thanks in advance for your answer! Buen Camino!

      • Lee Anne on May 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        Toe-wrapping – after several training walks (over 10 km) I always noticed that the inside of my little toes were slightly ‘pinched’. While that might not be a big problem for a weekend hike, compounding it over a month of continuous walking made me consider what I could do “before” a problem occurred. I practiced with a couple of different sport tapes, and the one that worked best for me was a very light (paper) surgical tape. I would cut a length about 6″, wrap it once all the way around the little toe and then buddy-wrap it to the next toe. That way, there was no pinching or one toe stepping on the other repeatedly. The small amount of time spent each morning going the ‘foot prep’ was a great way to pay some attention to my feet and I must say that except for a very few wee blisters, I had no foot problems at all. You will see people with shredded, blistered, raw feet – I was very happy to ‘not’ be one of the horror stories. It’s much better to prevent problems than try to fix them along The Way!!!

        • ricitosdeplata on May 7, 2015 at 7:17 pm

          Lee Anne, I too get pinch blisters between toes with more mileage. Have been able to wrap large toe with success using a cloth looking tape, but for my pinkie toe I have to put a purchased gel toe separator. I make sure and buy shoes with roomy toe box also.

          • Lee Anne on April 12, 2016 at 6:49 pm

            Those gel toe ‘cuffs’ are amazing things – and yes, they work amazingly well – especially if you get any rub spots on the ‘tops’ of your toes. Each person – and each foot (your two are different from each other as well as from anyone else’s) need to be considered and attended to for their specific needs. Again – I think I mentioned this earlier – taking 10 minutes or so every morning to make sure your feet are going to be happy little trekking individuals is a very small amount of tie VERY well spent! That whole ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure was never more true or fitting than when it comes to foot care on the Camino!

    • andres on June 11, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Wow very detailed! thanks for the sugestions!

  4. Helen on January 23, 2014 at 12:49 am

    Thanks Leslie, I am starting my Camino in May and this article will definately help me get stronger and fitter.

  5. Christie on January 23, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Thank you for all this great info. My mom, two sisters and I will be beginning our Camino in May 2014 and are drinking up every bit if info we can.

    • Leslie on January 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

      I am happy that the site helps in some small way. All the best with your planning and training.

  6. Sharon on January 23, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I am leaving Canada on May 1st, 2014 to start my Camino from St. Jean Pied de Port. I appreciate every bit of information as I have never done anything like this in my life. I like the idea of doing a couple of days back to back long walks. Thanks.

  7. Anne-Bente Fosse on January 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you to Leslie for good advice. I will be 60 years in the end of May 2014, and start The French Camino on the 2. or 3. of June. I want to spend about six weeks from SJPP to Santiago de Compostella. I look forward to it, and of course I am most interested in information and good advice ahead of the long walk.

    I go to Ying/yang : ( A combination of Pilates/ Yoga and Thai Chi) – once or twice a week. I do some exercice / strenght once a week, and in weekends we normally have a walk about 10 km. I will try to follow your advice during the Spring.

    • Marian Brady on January 14, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Well as I said earlier, my husband and I did the whole camino in 2013 and as 60 year olds we had no more issues than anyone else. Would caution you to pace yourself and if you feel you need a days rest..take it! Enjoy!

    • Coleen Komorowski on February 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Hello Anne – I am the same age as you and will do the same walk/hike this fall. I was wondering now that you’ve done this what advice you might add on? Thanks so much! Coleen

  8. Carla on January 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I am planning to walk from Burgos this July 2014 with one other girl friend. We walk 90 minutes five times a week and plan to walk with our packs from May. All the information on this site is very useful. I am keeping a journal and noting everything down. I will be 64 years old and have been Cancer free for almost four years. What better time to walk then now !

    • Leslie on February 6, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      I wish you all the best. The last four years must feel like a new lease of life.

    • Laurie Rhein on February 20, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Terrific way to celebrate “cancer-free” status. Wonderful!

  9. Berenice on February 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I am doing the Camino on June 2014 and taking 45 days to do it. I am a walker, but would like to know what the weather is like during that time of year?
    One more thing, can I buy my walking stick in SJPDP??

    • Leslie on February 6, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      It should be warm/ hot. Always hard to tell this far out, but you can check the BBC for averages.

      Yes, you can buy walking sticks in St Jean.

    • farah on February 7, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Hi, I walked the Camino France in June 10-July 13 2013. It gets chilly at night time and in the early morning. But from 10-5 it was really scorching. Bring a dry-free long sleeves jacket that would work both ways; for warmth and to protect your arms from the sun. I am planning to walk it again via the Camino Norte or the path that starts from Portugal.

  10. Dianne on February 10, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Hi everyone, I love the information here! My husband and I will be starting our Camino the middle of May. We are excited and anxious too as we have not done any backpacking before … or long hikes but hope to get into reasonable shape before we leave. We do not think we can walk from St. Jean over the Pyrennes in one shot and so made reservations for a night in Orission. Our question … is there a service that will transport our pack to Orisson and then on to Roncesvalles? I think that will be a tremendous help in getting us started. Thank you!

    • Leslie on February 17, 2014 at 8:43 am

      If you check out the forum – – you will find answers to this. I haven’t used these services on the Camino Frances, though I did on the Le Puy route.

  11. Niamh on February 13, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    I’ve been wanting to walk the camino for years and a recent change in my life means I can finally do it late March this year but I’m worried between now and then is not enough time to prepare. I’m 23, not exactly fit but I walk a lot among other activities. I feel like this is my chance to do the camino from St jean as I have the time and it feels like a good time in my life to do it but maybe it’s not enough time to prepare

    • Leslie on February 17, 2014 at 8:41 am

      The first time I walked I was not fit, and in some ways suffered for that – however if I waited till I was fit I wouldn’t have went. If you don’t push yourself too hard you will likely be okay.

  12. Andrew W on February 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I shall be walking the whole Camino from St Jean end May and planning details to Fly into Biarritz and out of Santiago. Hope to have one or two close friends to walk with me to the ‘end of the world’ to feel that special sense of completion.
    I would appreciate any help on equipment listings( already noted comments on boots/sacks) such as required for early summer trek. I shall stay in auberges wherever possible so I guess a good insert sleeping sheet and lightweight bag are essential with a range of simple utensils and, as many have mentioned, a medical kit for the feet!! But is taping toes such a good idea? Many thanks, Andrew.

  13. Donal Corcoran on February 28, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    We are all different so we need to train in different ways. I walked my first Camino at 70 years of age. I walked from Le Puy to Lecture in France. From there I was repatriated home with a herniated disk and had an operation on my back. The backpack I was carrying was too heavy and badly adjusted and I hadn’t trained wearing it.
    But I learned my lesson and my training goes something like this. Starting about 6 or Seven months before my Camino I do a half hour easy walk 3 times a day. This gradually builds up to a one hour walk 3 times a day. After that I build up one of the one hour walks to 2 hours and then to 3 hours. All this is done at a very easy pace but I find that as my strength builds up, I begin to walk at a faster pace. Then I put in long walks every weekends to get used to what Camino walking is all about.
    My main aim is to be able to walk for 6 or 7 hours every day. People that I have seen having problems on the Camino were often caused, because they weren’t used to walking for these length of times.

    Now aged 73, I have completed the Camino from Le Puy to Santiago . Last September/October I walked 4 Caminos and collected my 4 Compostela. I walked The Portuguese Camino from Coimbra to Santiago. Then I went back to Ourense and walked with friends from there to Santiago again. Next day, with a young Spanish girl I started off for Finistera reaching it 3 days later. Next day a one day walk to Muxia, a total of 4 Caminos. I carry my back pack with all my belongings every day and stay mostly in Pilgrim hostels.
    I am in the process of planning my next Caminos which when completed will bring my total distance walked to 1900 miles. I respect to reach the 2000 mile mark before my 75 th birthday.

    • Donal Corcoran on January 14, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      To add to what I said above. Since then I have wallked the EUROPEAN PEACE WALK, the Portuguese Camino again from Coinbra and finally I walked the Via Francigena from Gambassi to Rome, My total mileage for 2014 was 800 miles bringing my total now to 2700 miles. I celebrated my 74th. Birthday on the EPW in Slovenia where locals threw a surprise Birthday Party for me.

      • Coleen Komorowski on February 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

        So impressive Donal!! I was wondering your thoughts on a 60 year old female walking at least part of the whole Camino by myself? No one is interested in the whole thing except me – and I am okay to do it alone but just wondered if there are any safety issues. Thanks! Coleen

        • Donal Corcoran on February 17, 2015 at 7:08 pm

          Hi Coleen, sorry for the delay in replying to you. I did actually type up a reply but somehow deleted it instead of sending it. With a name like Coleen, which in Irish means” girl” you must have some Irish blood in you. I have often asked lone women camino walkers if they felt safe walking alone and they all said that they did. Anyway if there was a particular lonely part it’s very easy to hook up with other walkers. Although if you ever walk the Via Francigena, I would advise to walk with a companion as there can be remote places where I felt could be intimidating with lone men casually strolling in the opposite direction.

        • Glenys on March 6, 2015 at 12:25 pm

          Coleen, I did the Camino with my (male) partner, in 2011. He’s very fit so most days I walked alone behind him and felt very safe. Nights in albergues, I felt very safe. Most times people wouldn’t have realised who was with who. Everyone talks and supports others. I met other young women walking alone. I’m 62 now and planning to walk alone later this year.

    • Makere on August 18, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Donal I am so glad to read this. I am about to turn 70, am not a walker other than around the city and have quite severe arthritis in my knees and hands (also neck, spine etc). I was worried that I may be unable to do this at my age and in this state, but this gives me inspiration. Thank you!

    • Lee Anne on April 12, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      You are an inspiration! On my first Camino, in 2013, I had just turned 57. I was retiring the next year, so wanted to do something BIG before I had all that time on my hands. They say that when you retire, you only do the things that you already do – and just planning to start traveling usually doesn’t result in much travel – it has to already be a habit. So that was one of the nudging factors that took me on my first Camino experience. It was wonderful and has left me with a longing to walk The Way again – which I am planning to do, next year solo and then again in 2020 with my daughter. Did you ever walk the North Route? The proximity to the ocean and the beauty to be found along that route, call to me.

      • Colleen on October 15, 2017 at 11:46 pm

        Hi I am excited to hear of the North Route because I love the Sea! It calls to me too! I am in terrible shape at present and very over weight. However I am going!
        I think maybe April to avoid the excessive heat. I will have just turned 57!

  14. Stewart on June 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Hi all, my wife and I are walking the section from sarria to santiago on 29th of June 2014 is it easy to find accomadation along the way as we have not booked any accomadation cheers

    • Leslie on June 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Yes it is. There are pensions and hostels in all the villages along the way from there. Mind take a guide book or something with a list of the hostels.

  15. Robert Pagan on January 13, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you Leslie for all the tips especially abou taking care of ones feet, I am diabetic and appreciate any and all suggestions. I’ve recently joineda groupof ppl here in Puerto Rico that have done the camino. All in all between them theres about 500 years of experience walking. I suggest that anyone wanting to do the walk look into a local group near home.

  16. Kevin Firth on January 14, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Don´t use pain killers to keep going! Rest and recover.

    I walked Camino for 10 days in June, with my son, from Rabanal to Santiago. It was a wonderful experience…It was, however, spoilt by the 5 months I have spent recovering from a knee injury.

    Preparation and training for the walk went well for a long distance walk in the mountains, that I am used to, on soft surfaces. That, however, was not enough for the hard surfaces of the Camino. On the 4th day I was offered pain killers to help with a swollen knee by a lady with a similar problem. I took them and then bought my own pills, the next day.

    In hindsight it would have been much better to take a rest and recover, to wait until I was fit enough to continue. I did not want to disappoint my son and to lose that time. It was a big mistake, at my age of 60!

    I hope to walk more of the Camino in September but will only continue walk while I am fit to do so.


  17. Lesley on January 16, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Walking and boots a couple of tips, one I learned whilst walking the Camino, one a mountain climbing friend told me before I went. Take a spare pair of footbeds for your boots (not insoles but the ones that are made specially for your boots) they take a hammering and I needed to replace mine halfway through as they had flattened considerably. When on a long, hard uphill climb, look down, straight down, the ground appears flat – yes really – when you have gone a distance ( 5/10 mins) turn around without looking up and see how far you have come, do not look up and wonder at how far you have to climb, just take the time looking back to be mindful of what you have achieved and enjoy creation (and the brief rest). It really works, try it. I was 68 when I walked and the tortoise arrived before many of the hares – there is no rush, there is always a bed somewhere and another day to follow. Enjoy:-)

    • Leslie on January 16, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Great idea, I will try the looking down trick next time I am out walking.

      • Martin on March 6, 2015 at 9:01 am

        Lesley, …. I’ve used that technique for many years. When I I run or walk up steep inclines I always focus on a point about one meter in front of me. It is amazing how the distance goes by without being concerned on how far it is to the top.

  18. Carl on February 17, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Leslie. Thank you for your website, it is wonderful reading about everyone’s experiences and getting really excited about my trip in July. Can’t wait!

  19. Diane Peterson on February 24, 2015 at 4:10 am

    Great website with lots of good information. Hope to make the walk in 2015 n in my late 70’s so need to heed the good advice I have read here n start working at walking the distances. Will check back to learn more.

  20. Margaret Ana Luna on February 27, 2015 at 3:55 am

    Donal, you are an inspiration. Thanks Leslie, for your advice. I am just beginning my training but I started with 7 months to go. I am following a 5 day a week half marathon training schedule. The plan is to be able to walk 12 miles easily in 12 weeks. I’ve also started some hiking specific exercises. Thanks everyone for some great tips. Will try back to back hikes with my backpack as suggested. Sounds like a great way of getting the kinks worked out while giving me more confidence that I can indeed do it.

  21. LOUISA WEBB on July 22, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Hi Leslie. Thanks so much for your website and all the tips for training. I plan to walk the Camino in September this year and keep freaking out that I won’t be able to do it, but reading the comments left on your site, I realise that one step at a time is the way to tackle this and if I fail, I can always try again. I am following your training program as closely as I can as I am on extended leave leading up to the Camino, and lazing in Greece at the moment, where the temperatures are in the high 30’s most days and I have to walk at 05.30, but it is going well. Do you need boots to the do the Camino or will a good pair of trainers be enough? Also – how do you get from Barcelona to SJPDP?

    • Leslie on July 27, 2015 at 9:35 am

      I wouldn’t worry too much, many people start out walking without much training, just take it easy and don’t overexert yourself.

      I wouldn’t walk in trainers, but that is me. I use walking shoes and have found them quite adequate.

      Re getting to St Jean, check out the travel page. But you need to go to Pamplona and from there to St Jean – there are buses. For more detailed explainations and help with many questions join or check out the forum –

  22. ciaran folan on August 18, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I will be doing the last 110k of el camino Frances in the first week of September with a small group from church. I’m fairly experienced at hillwalking and have been doing a lot of practice. My query concerns my hillwalking boots. they are great, but someone has told me that the feet swell up in the hotter weather there, and that I need to have 2 pairs of trainers instead of my trusty boots!! this sounds like sacrilege to me, but is she right? Will my boots cause blisters in Spain?

    • Leslie on August 24, 2015 at 6:50 am

      I wouldn’t see why your boots will cause blisters in Spain if they don’t at home. My other half always walks in her boots, I normally use high quality walking shoes.

      Personally I don’t find trainers suitable as the sole is not hard enough and my feet end up sore after walking on paths made of small stones.

  23. Rita on January 10, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Great suggestions everyone! Can anyone suggest how much money we should bring on the trip?

    • Peter on January 15, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      I realize that your Camino is probably long done, but for any others, my daughter spent about 30 Euro a day on regular day staying at hostels, cooking sine kigges but also eating out.

  24. happy rich on March 15, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I am leaving on April 26th and have about a month to get ready. I have been hiking up and down hills for 4 days now from about 6 to 8 miles with a 10 lb pack. Any suggestions on how to get ready faster? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Leslie on April 11, 2016 at 9:58 am


      It seems like you are doing fine right now – no point in ever pushing it, it’s not that type of journey.

  25. Alexander B. Yacob on April 19, 2016 at 11:57 am

    This Alex from Italy. I am 65 yrs old and I just returned from my 3rd Camino! This time I started in Carion de Los Condes on April 8th, walked for 6 days to Astorga but had to stop. I can say that I was about 10 Kg overweight, that I walked in freezing rain day after day on hard surfcae, etc, etc. But the main reason I failed was because I went physically unprepared. In the past I always exercised for 3 months, and gradually build stamina. This time I was physically unfit and and thought I can do 25 Km a day for get fit on the way; that was a grave mistake.

  26. Marge Samsoe on February 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I am a 70 year old female and will do my 5th Camino this May. In May 2011, I 1st walked Camino Frances. Ten weeks prior to starting I had a cross country ski accident resulting in a complete tear of all three heads of my hamstring muscle (back of thigh). After 3 weeks of bedrest, I had to learn to walk again, 1st in a swimming pool. Fortunately, I had a good physical therapist who knew me and I am an exercise physiologist in cardiac rehab. I had no trouble walking initially 25 km (15 miles)/day and then increased to 40 km/day (24 miles). I don’t recommend that long of a distance for a 65 year old, or probably anyone else, but that allowed me to get home early enough to spend two weeks with my son as both of us were grieving the lost of our husband/father six months prior to my departure. I was alone, but there were always plenty of people around. I always put Corona ointment on my feet each morning (similar to Bag Balm or Udder Butter) and never had a blister. I never I would walk another Camino, but it has called me back – to the Chemin de Le Puy, the Swiss Camino, the Camino Portugues, and the the Camino del Norte. After the first two Camino’s I had two back surgeries including a fusion and still have three herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and diffuse osteoarthritis. My physician said I could carry no more than 10 pounds (4kg) on my back and I was amazed that I could actually get down to that level, which includes a lightweight sleeping bag. The Caminos have been a real spiritual gift to me and also a gift that I did not have to give up an activity (walking), which I love. I have always stayed in the albergues along the way. I live in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, USA, so I never had any difficulty with altitude (as I live at 3200ft (~1000m) and have plenty of hills/mountains to walk in for training. I thought I was done walking in Europe as I dislike the transatlantic flight, but is so nice to have the albergues at appropriate distances. If I walked on the Continental Divide trail (in my backyard), I would have to carry tent, food for at least a week, etc. I recall meeting a German man on my first Camino who was 80, blind in one eye, and had had two knee replacements. He walked considerably faster that I was comfortable walking. I never felt being a lone female, as there were plenty of people on the routes (except in Switzerland, and Portugal). We cannot let age get in our way, although I do walk slower now, and enjoy the routes more. Buen Camino!

  27. Precious on February 27, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Before my first camino the only training I did was to go clubbing for 24-27hrs a weekend for the previous 6 weeks in Berlin, then attend a wedding in Tuscany. The Camino hurt, but I don’t think it would have hurt any less if I had of trained more….

  28. James W on February 27, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for the info. I live in ALASKA, Where we are still waist deep in snow, only treadmill and cycle indoors now.. Looking at a Late September start, so can impliment your program this summer. Ciao…JW

  29. Genevieve P on January 17, 2018 at 12:48 am

    We are doing the Camino in 3 parts. Part 3 is planned for October. 1st Part was from St-Jean Pied de port to Burgos, 2nd part from Burgos to Ponferrada. Part 3 will be Ponferrada to Santiago to Muxia then to Fisterra. It avg out to about 300km each part. I will start by saying that my avg step count in the summer is about 20000-25000 a day minimum. So i already walk a lot. For the 1st part, i trained pretty much all summer leading to the camino and that part went pretty well. The 2nd part, training was more difficult due to spring flooding so most of my training was at the mountain during my lunch hour which probably contributed to Achilles tendinitis (due to too much Hill training) while on the camino. It was also really hot in the Meseta and we had a few longer days of 32km each… so this part was a little harder for us. The plan mentioned above is a pretty good to get you in the physical shape you need to be in. Another thing i like to add, it’s not a race… We walked an avg of 3.5-4 km per hour, took 5 minute breaks every hour (removing our packs), at Lunch we would remove our hiking boots to let our feet dry and we took a day off every 4 or 5 days. My boyfriend and I did not have any blisters for part 1 or 2. I wore Salomon’s, in my opinion the best hiking boots out there. My boyfriend wore Scarpa, he also swears they are the best boots out there. The boots, the backpack and hiking poles are the most important equipment on the camino so chose those well. I hope these tips help you. Buen Camino!

  30. Jane M Marheim on February 11, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    I’m 61 and following your training program. I won’t be doing the Camino anytime soon, but am planning on taking several long hikes, including overnights, this summer in Norway, where I live. I’m hoping to do part of the Camino in the fall. I’ve gotten to week 4. I am almost certain that I won’t be able to do 6km in an hour. My fastest comfortable pace seems to be about 4km p/hr. Does this have any negative effect on my end result? It’s more about building up my stamina and condition than speed, right? Needing a little encouragement, here. 🙂

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