The Camino de Santiago is an experience that test us at all levels. Here you may find recommendations and tips that we consider important for the preparation of the Camino: what should be taken with us (clothes, shoes, first aid kit, toiletry bag); how to train our body before starting to walk and how alleviate ourselves when difficulties may arise during the journey. Star Walkers want the experience to be as pleasant and rich as possible; so we encourage you to read this section and take note so that you´re not caught off guard during the pilgrimage..
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL
"think that you can and you will, it's all in the state of mind"
To do the Camino de Santiago you must be in good health and physical shape. Get your body used to the 20-25 kms per day that you will walk by training beforehand. Our training should be done in different scenarios, not only walking on the plain but also in the mountains to get the body used to the demands of the terrain during the Camino. It´s important that we walk in a comfortable way and that our pace adapts to the terrain. If you don´t have time to gradually prepare yourselfuntil you reach 20 or 25 kms then you can do short daily walks (30-40 minutes) during the week and some longer routes during the the weekends. It´s advisable to do our training with the backpack and weight that we will carry to the pilgrimage, like this the resistance of our body is observed - if the weight is excessive – and at the same time get used to this element that will be our constant travel companion.
Stretching before and after each workout would be ideal to give elasticity to the muscles of the legs, back and neck. Thus avoiding possible tensions or contractures.
It ´s also advisable to visit a physiotherapist or similar to discharge stress on muscles and joints, which will help to start the Camino in optimal conditions.
Stretching exercises will be constant while we do the Camino. Star Walkers have prepared a daily program where each yoga session will help us to soothe the body; and each meditation session will allow us to relieve tension and mental effort, in addition to a series of other activities aimed to work on a physical, emotional and mental level.
The hundreds of kilometers to be covered imply an effort and a physical preparation that require training; but we cannot forget the inner path demands it too.
A dedication of time to introspection and reflection is advisable to make a mental preparation.. Listen to our inner selfand question the reasons that have led us to make the decision to do the Camino de Santiago. Be clear about the reasons for doing it. During the journey, priorities may change, but it´s importantpoder to be able to return to our intention, to our purpose, especially in difficult moments.
“He who wants to travel happily, must travel light"
ANTONY DE SAINT-EXUPERY
The backpack is our companion during the entire route. Since we have to carry it continuously while walking, there are a few recommendationsto keep in mind for every pilgrim. It should be comfortable, easily adaptable and light. Ananatomical anatómicabackpack, with good support at the waist or hips and chest. With lumbar reinforcement, padded shoulder straps and a waterproof cover is a must. A bad backpack can ruin the Camino, being the main cause of foot problems.
During the summer season, a capacity of 35-40 liters is enough.. The weight we carry on our backs should be a maximum of 10% of our body weight (if we weigh 70 kg, the backpack should weigh 7 kg - 9 kg max). Exceeding this percentage is a recurrent mistake; we must be very methodical when choosing what we will carry inside. Here is our proposal:
2 breathable T-shirts (+1 normal) // 2 pants (one short and one detachable - or leggings) // 2- 3 pairs of underwear // 3 pairs of socks // 1 sweater - fleece lining // Some kind of raincoat - windbreaker // Sandals for after the hike and shower // Light, quick-drying towel // Sleeping bag // Mat // Swimming suit // Hat or cap // First aid kit // Toilet bag * // Toilet paper // 6 plastic clothespins or safety pins // Bolsa de plástico para ropa sucia // Multi-purpose knife // Notebook and pen (optional) // Pilgrim's credential // Documentation // Cell phone (for emergencies – try not to be used while walking)
* Toiletry bag: this is something personal and more delicate but we can say that the less we carry, the better. Lizard soap can be used to wash both body and clothes. A good moisturizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, razor and tweezers would be enough.
The Camino will show us how little we need.
After two or three days of walking, one usually realizes what is left over and chooses to whether donate it at the hostels or send it home by mail. Nowadays the Camino is more prepared and anything we need can be acquired along the way .If carrying a backpack is an impediment for someone, there are also companies that are dedicated to transport the backpacks of pilgrims who need it from one hostel to another.
"prevention is better than cure: take care of your feet on the road"
Footwear is a key part of our walking, as our feet are and taking care of them is essential.
Never wear new shoesotherwise it is much easier for chafing and blisters to appear. We should also avoid very old shoes and with worn soles. A used and comfortable shoes, to which our foot is already adapted, is the ideal one.
Our pilgrimage will take place in summer, so we discard the boots that are used during the winter or cold seasons. 4 basic choice rules are comfort, lightness, waterproofness and breathability.
One option would be trekking boots, with hard soles that support the ankle but do not exert too much pressure or fit tightly. It´s important to select boots with a lowered rear part of the shaft to avoid rubbing the ankle. The other option, trekking shoes thatare suitable for those seeking freedom of movement, lightness and breathability, in addition to a durable sole that provides excellent traction, incorporating removable insoles and EVA midsole that support and stabilize the footprint. Basic running shoes should be avoided as they do not offer sufficient cushioning and ground grip.
Sandals are the perfect complement for pilgrims as they are perfect for resting after a hard day of walking, they will bring us freshness and comfort. In addition using them when we have a shower may avoid cases of mycosis.
Socks are a basic garment to take into account. It is of little use to have the best footwear if the socks do not guarantee that the feet face each stage properly. The choice of socks is just as important as the choice of footwear. You can use seamless cotton socks or buy anti-blister socks. Coolmax fabric is the most recommended, ideal for keeping your feet dry and avoiding humidity, as well as including lycra and polyamide in their composition. They should have reinforced heel and toe, breathable with protected or seamless seams., traspirables con costuras protegidas o sin costuras.
As pilgrims we must pay special attention and care to our feet.
We will try to keep them dry and hydrated at all timesA good tip is to apply Vaseline before putting on socks; this will help prevent blisters and chafing. Give them a break during walks by loosening the footwear at stops and if there´s water nearby, refresh them, always drying them well before putting the socks back on.
"the good thing about a footache is that you stop paying attention to your head"
ZUBIRI HOSTEL BOOK
On the Camino de Santiago you may experience small mishaps that are part of the experience. We must be aware and accept it from the beginning .For example, if we´re not very used to long walks, it is very likely that blisters will appear on our feet... Therefore, before starting the adventure we must be aware of the possible problems that may appear and prepare the first aid kit very carefully.
It will have skin and foot care essential. We´ll carry with us Vaseline; lip balm; sunscreen; needle and thread - to drain blisters and sores in case we have them - some dressing type compeed; plasters, small scissors; sterile gauze for cleaning wounds; adhesive tape; bandages for holding dressings; betadine or other antiseptic and some anti-inflammatory cream (Traumeel or tiger balm).
It´s not necessary to carry too much, stores and pharmacies are found all along the Camino.