|To someone who has never
walked more than about 10 miles ever in one day, the notion of walking
between 15-20 miles every day for a fortnight seemed a little daunting.
Clearly no big deal for the serious hiking enthusiast, but for a
deskbound, middle-aged wimp, quite a challenge!
I bought myself a good pair of walking
boots and tried to break them in over a weekend; they won and were
discarded before I even left home. Instead I took a pair of comfy
shoes and my fifteen year old Nike Air Max Lites and attempted to follow
the widespread advice to "start off slowly". By day three I had
abandoned the sensible shoes (other than for evening wear) and spent the
rest of the Camino with my trainers which were great, particularly
downhill where the air cushion heel came into its own. Most
importantly they were very light, so less tiring. According to all
the old timers I met along the way, trainers are your best bet so forget
all the over-priced boots and wear your tatty old pumps!
The other bit of advice I followed was
to limit the weight of what you carry to less than 10% of your body weight
and "if in doubt, leave it out". The last bit of that is the key.
You will be walking in a very civilised European country with every
possible facility within a few kilometres; there are chemists,
supermarkets, doctors, dentists, everything you could possibly need so all
you have to carry is a change of clothes and a toothbrush! Maybe a
water bottle, but even without one you will not die before the next bar.
The Camino (or at least the bit I did)
varies from level walking along minor (generally traffic-free) roads to scrambling
up rocky hillsides. At the time it seems very hot and strenuous, but
in hindsight, never something you cannot manage with a little
attitude. There is always someone older, more frail or flabby than
you to give you the determination that if they can do it, so can you.