You’re at the bar with your friends having a quiet drink when one of them starts telling you what he did last summer during the holidays. He tells you that he did the Way of St. James, and does something very human, remember only the good. You start to be enthusiastic about the story and you think about doing the tour.
Months go by and you are already in the North of Spain, however, you have finished the first stage and you discover something: you were not trained enough to make such a long trip. You give up and come home.
This situation is not weird at all and it’s given more than you think. Although the Way of St. James is an extraordinary journey of beautiful landscapes, sufficient preparation is necessary for this and for this reason, in this article we will show you how to prepare the way of St. James on foot. Don’t go, we’re starting!
Prepare the Way of St. James, do not be fooled
Do not be deceived by those who tell you that the Way is a journey that should not be prepared because they lie, they are lacking the truth. The human being of the 21st century is not prepared for a test that requires so much activity because his daily life is sedentary. We spend a lot of time in front of the mobile phone and the computer and very little doing sports. That is why it is necessary to prepare the route.
However, do not believe that we are facing a test that can only do high performance athletes, but is a test quite easy but requires a little preparation. There are two factors that we are going to tell you and that you must prepare, of course, with some care:
-The long distances: it is not the same to cross the kilometer that separates you from the work walking that to cross the more than 700 kilometers of the French Way. For that reason, it is necessary to begin to adapt to the body and to the legs to distances a little longer, so that you go catching bottom and resistance.
For example, you can start walking for a while every day and each day add a little more time for progressive training. However, there are other factors to watch out for.
-The weight of the backpack: sincerely, being a backpacker is a very nice experience, but it is uncomfortable. Carrying 10, 15 or 20 kilos on your back is not at all pleasant and, moreover, our back is not accustomed to it. That’s why it’s a good idea to start carrying some weight on your walks. We don’t want you to look like a freak carrying the Camino backpack through your city, what we want is for you to carry a normal backpack with some weight so that your back and the muscles that form it get used to it.
These are the two main physical handicaps regarding the Way, however, you must also count on other factors.
Organizing the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago: aspects to bear in mind
The physical factor is often undermined by the psychological factor. Or what is the same, if you don’t believe in your possibilities, the most likely is that you won’t succeed. It may seem that we exaggerate but sadly there are many people who leave before finishing the tour and it is a pity, as many of the landscapes that make up this beautiful itinerary are lost.
The mental factor will be the one that makes that in this stage that is choking you because of its hardness you do not opt for the decision to turn around and go back to your hostel. In other words, it is the difference between people who decide that they like it and want to face the sacrifices, or who prefer comfort.
Therefore, two good tips are:
-Prepare yourself physically: this will give you greater mental stamina. If you’re used to your legs being tired, it won’t hit you so hard and you can go on.
-To know that this is not a car route: to know that it is a hard and demanding route, for sedentary people that is, but to be aware that it is really worth it.
In addition, we can add a third and is not to make more difficult to our mind and body what is already difficult. This is achieved by taking care of your shoes and feet.
Footwear and foot care on the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago, what you should keep in mind
The rookie’s biggest problem is always the blisters and the pain in the feet. It’s a maxim that has to be engraved on your head. It’s not getting lost, it’s not not finding a hostel, it’s not even that you don’t like walking in the mountains.
For this reason, we must prepare ourselves in the right way and take maximum care of this aspect. The rules you must follow are as follows:
-You’ll never wear new shoes: shoes, if you’re not used to them, are a death trap that can make you want to go home on the second day. We recommend that you look at our article on what to bring for the Camino de Santiago so that you can choose.
-This is because it is the weakest part of the body that suffers the most. In your medicine cabinet you will carry Vaseline, plasters and other remedies so that the foot can recover between stages.
Remember that you are on vacation, you are looking to improve yourself, but for that you do not have to have a foolish time.
Muscle problems: the second most common problem
If avoiding the appearance of blisters is important, it is also important to avoid muscle problems and pain when doing the Camino de Santiago. To do this, it is best to make a progressive route. This involves gradually increasing the hardness of the stages so that the body and especially the muscles get used to it.
In this way, you will save yourself tendinitis, which is very annoying and causes a big psychological dent. However, remember that there is a possibility of spraining, so we want to recommend two things.
-First of all, don’t go down like crazy, because most sprains are caused by downturns. This is because we trust each other and think nothing’s going to happen to us. This is a mistake.
Second, always carry a first-aid kit, which will allow you to heal in case you need it. Carrying anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen will also be a good idea.
The last recommendations to make the Way
Remember that this tour is not usually complicated, it is a trip more of pleasure than of effort. But it’s better not to go crazy. That is why, in the event that something bad happens, such as, for example, we get lost.
Prevention is always the best tool to avoid greater evils, so remember to be well prepared. We recommend you to read this article about the best footwear to make the way to Santiago. We hope you liked this article and that you already know how to prepare the Way of St. James on foot.
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