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 Saint James, and he does something very typical of human beings, remembering only the good things. You begin to be enthusiastic about the story and consider the idea of doing the way on foot.
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 journey. You give up and go home.
This situation is not at all rare and it happens more than you think. Despite the fact that the Way of Saint James is an extraordinary journey through beautiful landscapes, sufficient preparation is necessary for it and for this reason, in this article we will show you how to prepare the Way of Saint James on foot. Don’t go away that We started!
Physical preparation to do the Way on foot
Making the Way of Saint James on foot is the most authentic form of pilgrimage. But, as we mentioned at the beginning, to enjoy the experience to the full and not to suffer, a previous physical preparation is necessary. Like all physical exercise, the Way requires us to prepare our bodies for the adventure. Take note!
First of all, you should choose a route that has an acceptable length for you. If you are in good physical shape, you can consider taking a longer route. For those who are not so used to walking long distances, we recommend choosing itineraries of no more than 120 kilometers.
-It is necessary to train by walking every day, for at least 3 weeks. Walk at least a couple of hours a day.
-If you can invest one day of your weekend in going on a route around the 10 km, great!
-Train on different terrains: asphalt, grass, gravel, with slopes, etc.
-Try walking with the backpack you will carry during the route to get used to it.
-At home, you can also do leg and butt exercises to help you strengthen your legs.
–Mental awareness: it is important to be psychologically prepared and have willpower. Positive thoughts of self-motivation help a lot. If you think you can’t or won’t hold out, chances are you’ll give up. So, you know, be positive!
After this preparation, you will be 100% fit to walk the path without difficulty! Also, remember that all the roads to Santiago are perfectly prepared for walking.
Tips for making the Way on foot
Footwear to make the journey on foot
In this adventure, your feet are your means of transportation, so you must take care of them and pamper them a lot. The biggest problem for the novice is always blisters and pain in the feet. It’s a maxim that has to stay engraved in your head. The rules you should follow are the following:
-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 see our article on what to wear for the Way of Saint James so that you know how to choose. It is also important to choose good socks without anti-blister seams.
-You will always carry a remedy in your foot kit: this is because it is the weakest and most suffering part of the body. In your first aid kit you will carry Vaseline, plasters and other remedies so that the foot can recover between stages.
The clothes and the backpack
Do not overload your backpack during the stage, take only what is necessary for the route. In our article on what to take to the Camino de Santiago that we mentioned before, you will find all the recommendations regarding clothing. Always wear comfortable, technical clothing that breathes so that it doesn’t get wet and cause chafing.
It is recommended that you keep a steady and sustained pace. Whether there is a descent or the stretch is easier to walk, don’t set the pace. It is important to get into a rhythm that you are comfortable with and to stay there.
Make stops every 2 hours at the most for at least 10 minutes. Loosen your shoes if necessary and hydrate.
A hat or cap for protection from the sun and sunglasses will not be out of place. Of course you should not miss the sunscreen and a trekking stick to help you walk.
When is it better to make the journey on foot?
The best thing to do is to choose a time of year like spring or autumn. This way, you will avoid the excessive heat of summer, but you will still have good time to walk. However, summer is also a very good time. You will only have to make sure to walk in the early morning hours, to get rid of the heat of the central hours of the day. This is very important, especially if you walk your dog.
We hope you have found our recommendations useful and that you are encouraged to undertake this wonderful adventure. From Viajes Camino de Santiago, we will be happy to help and advise you on everything you need.