More and more people are deciding to embark on the adventure of walking the Camino de Santiago. Usually, almost all new pilgrims share the same doubts and concerns about this: how should I prepare myself, what should I take with me, will I be able to do it, etc. We show you the most important tips to keep in mind.
Nowadays there is also the uncertainty or fear associated with the coronavirus. Many of you are debating whether to make the journey or not, because you are not sure if it will be safe to do so. This feeling is perfectly normal. For this reason, in this post we are going to give you more tips to follow in order to make the journey in complete safety in times of coronavirus.
Pilgrim’s preparation tips
Just like an athlete or a competitor, pilgrims prepare physically and mentally to do the Camino.
It is very important that you prepare yourself physically before walking the trail. If you are a regular exerciser, we recommend that you focus your training on walking several days a week. If you can go on a route on the weekends, all the better! For athletes, preparation involves including walking or leg-strengthening exercises in their weekly exercise routines.
If, on the other hand, you are someone who doesn’t exercise often, don’t worry, you can do it! Of course, you will have to work harder and train a little more. We advise you to set daily walking routines, which you will gradually extend in time, at least 5 or 6 weeks long, before starting the walk. As a complement, mountain routes are also very beneficial as well as leg and gluteal exercises to strengthen the muscles.
It is essential. Again, if you’re an athlete you’ll know what we’re talking about. Often, the key to reaching the finish line in an athletics race is in the head. It’s all about attitude. If you think, “I won’t be able to do it, I won’t make it,” you probably won’t make it. On the contrary, if your thoughts are positive: “Come on, it won’t be long now, you can do this and more!”; morale and optimism will help you to go ahead and reach the end.
So you know, it’s very important not to get frustrated and always have a positive attitude.
“When you are ready, you will have to choose your route and plan the stages. The most important thing to keep in mind at this point is to choose an itinerary that is within your means. Don’t set yourself too ambitious goals to avoid frustration. Measure the stages well and choose a route that adapts the degree of difficulty to your physical condition”.
The pilgrim’s clothing:
Advice on clothing, footwear and backpacking.
We like to discuss these three things at the same time because they complement each other. You should never overdo it with “just in case” clothes, a pilgrim always carries just what is necessary. Think that all the extra stuff you put in your backpack will translate into weight on your back during the stage. They say that experienced pilgrims differ from novices in the size of their backpacks. So you know, just enough and necessary. Of course, the backpack must be suitable for hiking and in your size.
This is just about the best advice anyone can give you: take care of your feet. Your feet are going to be your means of transport for the entire duration of your walk, so you should take good care of them. How do we take care of our feet? Beginning with the appropriate footwear, the best is a sneaker or trekking boot. Never new! In addition, socks without seams to avoid chafing. And of course, Vaseline and creams to prevent chafing and blisters.
Taking care of yourself on the road
Hydration and nutrition are key when walking. You should always carry plenty of water and snacks with you. Nuts or fruit are recommended for snacking while walking, as they provide a lot of energy. Of course, it is very important that the meals you eat after walking, you make them hearty and balanced.
Tips to prevent COVID-19 on the Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago, thanks to its nature as an outdoor activity in nature and in small villages, is a safe activity in itself.
However, there are, of course, a number of tips that are important to keep in mind to prevent the spread of coronaviruses on the road. As you can see, it won’t be anything you don’t already apply in your day-to-day life. The key to being protected against the coronavirus is to strictly follow safety and hygiene recommendations.
Mask ALWAYS: Even if you’re walking, if you can’t keep your social distance, put your mask on in the meantime. If you are going to enter an establishment or accommodation, always wear a mask in the common areas. In bars, wear it whenever you are not drinking.
Social security distance: avoid walking close to other pilgrims. Always keep a distance of at least 2 metres.
Disinfection: carry hydroalcohol with you to disinfect your hands after touching things. When you enter the accommodation, remove your footwear, disinfect it and store it in a zip-lock bag. It is recommended that you go inside with other footwear such as flip-flops that have already been disinfected.
While walking: avoid touching commonly used things that are on stage and if you do touch, remember to apply hydroalcoholic gel afterwards. Be careful with your waste, don’t leave masks or gloves lying around in the rest areas. Don’t spit on the ground and don’t throw cigarette butts.
As you can see, the recommendations are based on individual responsibility. If we all follow them, we all win and we all protect ourselves. If you are really thinking about doing the Camino and you have doubts about your safety on it, we hope we have helped you to clear your doubts. Remember, as long as you follow the health recommendations, you will be protected. If you are thinking of walking the route with your pet, all the advice in the following link.