Thursday, 12 November 2015


Although I have always enjoyed "going for a walk", I have been a confirmed couch-potato my entire life.  Grant used to do a lot of mountain-biking, but in the last couple of years he has done no proper exercise at all.  Obviously, walking on the Camino was going to be nothing like our usual casual stroll around the park, so once we had committed to doing a week's walking on the Camino we realised we would need to put in some proper training.

We began training for our Camino about 6 months before our walk, in December, which is Summer here.  We built up very slowly from distances of about 2 km initially, to 15km walks.  We live in a hilly area, so although there weren't huge inclines, we did lots of hill training.  I can clearly remember my excitement when we walked our first 5kms and then 10kms!  All our walking was done in the early mornings, in the heat of Summer we were getting up at 04:30 some mornings to beat the heat.  We did a fair amount of walking in high temperatures, which I was grateful for when we were on the Camino and sometimes had to walk in temps of 35 degrees Celsius and above!

We faced a couple of challenges in our training.  Firstly, I have major issues with my feet - I have severe overpronation of both feet (I have to wear orthotics all the time), as well as bad arthritis in my right foot.  Not long after we started training my right foot pretty much gave in and my podiatrist told me to stay off the foot completely for 6 weeks.  Once we began walking again I had some very bad days, when I honestly thought we were going to have to call our walk off altogether, but we persevered and I learnt some strategies to help my feet cope - little rests during our walk, using ice-baths for my feet after walking and Arnica pills helped immensely.  No sooner did we get started again and an old injury of Grant's began to play up badly, resulting in surgery to remove plates from his ankle - once again we couldn't train for a number of weeks.  Then we got struck down by flu.... twice!  In the end we didn't do nearly as much training as we had hoped to, but we were still reasonably fit - by our standards! - when we began our walk.  We were regularly walking distances of 15kms and doing a pretty challenging 9km circuit, that included some really steep hills, twice a week.

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