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5 Ways to Train for the Camino de Santiago

By Xunta de Galicia | 13/02/2017

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Will you do the Camino de Santiago? You must know that you have to start training as soon as possible. Experts recommend starting to walk every day for two months before the Camino de Santiago; without forgetting the warms and stretches before and after. Here are 5 ways to train to do the Camino de Santiago, either on foot, by bike or by horse. And all the training tricks to get you the best performance.

Trick 1. Training for the Road: hikes before starting!

To do the Camino de Santiago it is advisable to prepare before with some exercises that help tone and give elasticity to the muscles, especially the legs, back and neck. This training must be started a few months before the pilgrimage begins. A simple idea for that? Walks help us prepare if we gradually increase their time and difficulty.

Another recommended previous measure is to prepare the muscles for this effort. A visit to the physiotherapist to download the muscles will help us to start the Camino de Santiago in the best conditions.

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Trick 2. Do you make the Camino de Santiago on foot?

Before walking, remember to heat. And then stretch after the end of the day. Before starting each stage, remember to warm the twins and muscles of the anterior and posterior thigh (quadriceps and ischiothibials).

The start of the walk must be smooth and rhythmic: only when the body warms up can we gradually increase the intensity. Once the level of effort is reached according to our capacity, the gait must be kept regular and continuous.

In addition, it is very important that the step is comfortable, without excessive effort that prevents other activities such as having a conversation. Remember that the average walking speed is between 4 and 5 kilometers per hour.

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Trick 3. Do you bike the Camino de Santiago?

If you want to bike, you will need at least two months prior training. A reasonable stage of the mountain bike path can be around 60 or 100 kilometers per stage: the average speed for a cyclist can be 12 or 13 kilometers per hour. I mean, about 60 kilometers in about 5 hours.

We must also bear in mind that it is 200 kilometres that have to go by bicycle in order to request the Compostela at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago.

In our planning of the road, it is important to study the profiles of each stage, which is very important and which must be adapted to our physical conditions. If we bike, it's better to go with each other. In addition, special care should be taken with traffic and traffic rules should always be kept, such as circulating in line and with the necessary safety equipment according to the regulations. This option has advantages, such as knowing places of interest near the route or making unique stops without a hurry.

The ideal period to start the Camino by bicycle is the first half of September, overcome the summer rigors, and even with long days.

Trick 4. The Camino de Santiago on horseback

More than 1,500 pilgrims go horseback every year. But this path requires special planning and development, so it is appropriate to resort to associations or specialised centres. And remember: the horse pilgrimage, to be credited with the Compostela, requires having traveled the same distance as walking: 100 kilometres.

However, walkers will always prefer riders over riders to stay in public shelters. Pilgrims who plan to enter the city of Santiago with horses must notify of their arrival at the Local Police several days earlier. The police will tell us the journey and schedule that must be respected, as well as giving us an entry permit to the Praza do Obradoiro that authorizes a short stay before the Cathedral.

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Trick 5. How do you plan the way?

If you are elderly or have a disease, you should have a medical examination before. This will help us better plan the stages and also set the effort we can make.

It is necessary to develop a phased planning that is tailored to the physical capabilities of each. Furthermore, it is better not to propose rigid objectives that force superhuman efforts, as they may cause injury or excessive fatigue, and frustrate the experience of the road. The advice? Better dose the effort and follow our own pace, especially when the pilgrimage is long and for many days.

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