Time to get ready to walk
While you can walk the Camino without doing any training whatsoever, it may not be your best choice. Your Camino experience will be greatly enhanced by preparing your body and mind to walk long distances day in and day out.
The Camino is a very physically demanding walk. You will climb mountains, walk along fields of corn and wheat, climb down dry riverbeds, walk through forests, and go up and down several times per day. All the while carrying all that you currently possess on your back.
Part of your training is determining which backpack you will use, and what clothes, socks, and shoes work for you.
The best way to do this is first to get fitted for a pack. REI will fit you for a pack if you choose. You can then train with it and if it does not work, you can return it and try another. There are other stores where you can get the same type of fitting. We do not endorse any specific stores. As far as clothes, socks, and shoes go, the only way to truly know if they are going to work for you is to put them on and go for a walk. Many pilgrims have found that something they thought would work simply does not work for one reason or another. By going out and training with your pack, dressed as you will be you will be able to determine what works for you. Remember, it does not matter what others are doing only what works for you!
There are many ways to train for the Camino. It is important to build up your strength to walk 12 to 15 miles per day, each day for several days. You should also build up your ability to climb steep paths. We are blessed in Sacramento and the Sacramento area with several excellent trails in the foothills that offer long distances with hills and beautiful views at the same time. As you begin to walk try to go for a walk every day. Start with a few miles and over time increase it. Try to walk 7 days a week. Work up to walking 5 miles every day with longer walks on the weekend. Start carrying your pack as soon as you are comfortable. At first with a little weight and then begin to increase the weight until you are carrying about 5 lbs. more than you actually will on your Camino for the last 2 weeks. This will allow your body to get used to the additional weight of the pack on your back and will give you feedback as to whether it works or not. With your pack fully loaded your clothes will feel different, and your socks and shoes will feel different. Make sure that everything is comfortable. Now is the time to find out so you do not have issues while walking the Camino.
This is the hottest and most contentious topic there is. We all have our favorites and that is the point. You need to find out what works for you. We encourage you to purchase shoes that are 1/2 to 1-size larger as your feet will swell during the Camino. Remember you are walking every day for 5 to 8 hours.