We’re now under 90 days out for our departure for the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela, so it is time to get serious about training. We have done once- or twice-a-week walks thus far, getting up early or walking under the hot tropical sun to experience different conditions. We have gone as far as 24 kilometers carrying our loaded packs and wearing our gear.
After a few weeks off for Christmas and a trip to the States, we started back in yesterday with a 8 mile mid-morning hike. No sooner had we left our development then we found ourselves heading against the herd, literally.
It was difficult getting back into the swing of hiking: neither Judy nor I felt very motivated this hike. We ran into our friend Lisa who stopped to talk, and even she noticed we didn’t look very motivated (good assessment). By the time we took a lunch break, we began feeling better, and the last few miles felt like old times. We are very tired for such a short walk, but I think we will recover our form rapidly as we increase the frequency and duration of our training hikes.
Part of my problem was probably overpacking. I have been gradually increasing the weight in my pack, well beyond what I will actually carry, so that the hike seems easy in comparison to our training walks. However, I did not keep track of how much I was adding: I would just see something fairly heavy but still compact, and I would think “that would make great pack filler!” so I would throw it in the pack. After yesterday’s hike, I went back and unloaded and weighed everything, and I was up to 25 lbs. Seasoned Camino pilgrims suggest never carrying more than 10% of your body weight, which would give me an 18 lb target. Seven pounds may not sound like much, “but ounces make pounds, and pounds make pain” is the mantra.
Keeping your pack weight to a bare minimum is critical for an 800 kilometer hike. I will detail what we’re bringing, and why, in a follow-on post.