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My Next Camino

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by senorbill, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. senorbill

    senorbill New Member

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    In 2007 I walked 350 km from Roncesvalles almost to Leon before I was stopped by shin splints. So here I am ten years later planning to do it again, but with a difference. If you are interested in the changes I will make, you can read about it here.

    http://arcadiaworks.org/elcamino/page4/page4.html

    I would appreciate all comments.
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Senorbill - Welcome to the Forum. I really enjoyed looking at your "change" list as that is exactly what I've been doing as I prepare for my second Camino.

    Here are a couple of thought on the points you make in your posting:

    1. Take A Break - Couldn't agree with you more. I walked 31 days straight and certainly felt the fatigue factor build. I would do two things differently. One, take those periodic days off as you suggest, and two, purposely plan a couple of shorter days to take the place of a very long day. Give yourself enough time so that you can go at a pace that works for you.

    2. Lighten the Load - Absolutely! Although I carried about 8 kgs. last time, I'm working very hard to not leave home this time with more than 6 kgs. Although I did significant training prior to my Camino, I could barely lift my arms upon reaching Roncesvalles due to having worn a backpack over the Pyrenees. I did adjust, but the first few days were tough carrying along that extra weight. To walk far, carry less!

    3. The Sleeping Bag - I have to say that I'm glad I had one. Weighing in at only 1.1 pound, I would reduce my backpack weight by leaving something else behind before getting rid of my bag. I enjoyed both the warmth and comfort of it, but that's a personal choice.

    4. Carry Less Water - Not being a big drinker, this was never a problem for me. I never carried much more than 500-600 ml of water at any one time. As you said, there are plenty of places to stop for drinks most of the time. What I would tell people who use a bladder is do NOT fill it up. A filled 2 l bladder will add 4.4 pounds to your carrying weight.

    5. Carry Much Less Food - Completely agree with you on this. So many cafe/bars or stores to stop at that there is little need to carry much food. Crossing the Pyrenees is about the only time you might want to carry some snacks with you. Otherwise, plan plenty of regular stops to take a break and grab something to eat.

    6. Lighten Up The Hiking Boots - With the surfaces along the Camino Francés, a mid-height boot ,as you suggest, isn't necessary. I like the low hiking shoes, but I had problems with the Keen Targhee II. But, to be fair, a number of factors other than the shoes may have led to some pretty giant size blisters. In hindsight, my blister care probably should have been different. With that said, I have switched shoes to the Merrell Moab Ventilator. We'll see!

    7. Crocs As A Spare Pair Of Shoes - I loved slipping on my crocs after a long day of hiking. I have now switched to the PR SOLES Recovery Sandal, but not because I was displeased with my crocs.

    8. The Best Backpack - I see the backpack as a tool. Choose the right size for what you really need to carry (probably less than you imagine) and make sure it fits you.

    Wonderful thoughts Seniorbill. Thanks for sharing them with us. Buen Camino!
     
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  3. Marion

    Marion Marion

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    Hi Bill, welcome :)
    Your injury must have hurt... But how nice you're back on the Camino! It's great! Your list is full of valuable comments and tips, thank you for sharing it.
    You also asked for comments, so here are some about your list:
    • Take a break: it's very important indeed... it may seem like a waste of time if one doesn't feel tired, but it's a huge difference for the body. We're not used to walk so much anymore nowadays, the body certainly notice the change. Even 5 minutes off your feet is a great deal for it! And long distance traveling is not just trail, it becomes a way of life... It took my body 2 months to get used to my new lifestyle! Listen to your body to know when to stop, or arrange regular breaks along the day
    • Lighten the load: you're right, the lighter the better! Again, as we're not used to carry loads on our backs, it's only our body protests at first, whatever the weight is. I don't really size has to do with it (thinking of sherpas here...) but training does. Then the 10% rule is only an indicator and applies to one's health weight (otherwise, the heavier the body, the heavier the load... which doesn't make sense!). Do your best to sort your gears, but remember it's a long time work! (if not a life time...)
    • Carry less water: Yeah, I'm not a fan of bladders either. I now use a bottle with a adjustable pipe, which works like a bladder. Coca-cola bottles are the toughest, but there are great gears that are made of better and healthier material. The list given is SJPdP will help you take water when needed.
    • Lighten up the boots: Most of the Camino Francés is now so refitted boots are not necessary... I can't see a stretch were boot would actually be needed: it's been widened, leveled, graveled or paved nearly all the way from SJPdP to Fisterra. Light shoes totally do the trick while like you experienced, high boots can even do harm. It can even weaken the ankle, that get used not to do its job. I twisted both of my ankles and when I stopped wearing high shoes, that's actually when they started to get stronger. And, nice bonus, the lighter the shoes, the lighter the weight! Even your feet will carry less! ;)
    • The best backpack: Make sure your backpack is well loaded and well adjusted! It makes a huge difference, especially on long trails like the Camino. There are ways to do both, and make any backpack a more comfortable and easier load to carry. Easy advice to find online if needed!
    • Add extra confidence: You've got experience of the Camino already, that's a big help to get ready "better" :) You really seems to have learned loads from your first Camino. It's so nice you're off with such wisdom in your pack! Which, conveniently enough, doesn't weight anything! ;)
    Here are also some "off-list" thoughts:
    Your mind, readiness, planning style and packing skills are not the only things that will have changed. The Camino has also evolved a lot since 2007! There are many more people, accommodations, bars, restaurants, services, etc. The path itself went through some "facelifts". I have my own opinion about it, but you'll make your own for yourself ;)
    I'd strongly suggest you prepare yourself to walk a whole different Camino. Not just because it's a other and different start for you, but because the Camino is different. I found it changed drastically between 2010 and 2015 and "old pilgrims" in 2010 were already complaining the Camino was changing. I think just knowing it is different now will make the "shock" a bit easier to deal with...
    That said, it's not as dark as it may sound! The essence of the Camino is still there, however clothed in new features! I believe the trick is be able to see it...

    Thanks again for sharing your list!
    Buen Camino!


    [​IMG]
     
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  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks for your list. I particularly liked the explanations by each item. Many lists like this look like something from Excel. And nothing more. Reasons are important.
     
  5. senorbill

    senorbill New Member

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    6. Lighten Up The Hiking Boots - With the surfaces along the Camino Francés, a mid-height boot ,as you suggest, isn't necessary. I like the low hiking shoes, but I had problems with the Keen Targhee II. But, to be fair, a number of factors other than the shoes may have led to some pretty giant size blisters. In hindsight, my blister care probably should have been different. With that said, I have switched shoes to the Merrell Moab Ventilator. We'll see!

    Thanks Wily for all of the support you have given my next planning ideas. I also used Keen Targhee II and liked them for short hikes, but found them clunky and heavy after awhile. I am also switching to Merrell very light hiking shoes that are full of mesh. Light and cool sounds good.
    Buen camino.
     
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  6. senorbill

    senorbill New Member

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    Here are also some "off-list" thoughts:
    Your mind, readiness, planning style and packing skills are not the only things that will have changed. The Camino has also evolved a lot since 2007! There are many more people, accommodations, bars, restaurants, services, etc. The path itself went through some "facelifts". I have my own opinion about it, but you'll make your own for yourself ;)
    I'd strongly suggest you prepare yourself to walk a whole different Camino. Not just because it's a other and different start for you, but because the Camino is different. I found it changed drastically between 2010 and 2015 and "old pilgrims" in 2010 were already complaining the Camino was changing. I think just knowing it is different now will make the "shock" a bit easier to deal with...
    That said, it's not as dark as it may sound! The essence of the Camino is still there, however clothed in new features! I believe the trick is be able to see it...


    Thanks Marion. I really appreciate knowing of the changes in advance. I am older now, so easier and more convenient doesn't sound all that bad. Last time in our first few days we saw many people that had major problems which emphasized the need to plan well.

    [​IMG][/QUOTE]
     
  7. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Seniorbill - My only quandary regarding the Merrell Moab was deciding upon the model. Did I want to go with the breathable ventilator or the waterproof Gor-tex shoe? Although I did run into a few days of rain, some heavy in Galicia, it seemed that the Ventilator would be the better choice particularly on those long hot days across the Meseta. What I do plan on doing is to take a few more daily breaks, take off my shoes, and change socks mid-way through the day's hike. With different blister care in mind, if they were to develop, I have a new strategy for Camino #2 when it comes to foot care. I may have to deal with wet feet on some days, but the Ventilator model should serve me better in the long run. Other thoughts?
     
  8. stevelm1

    stevelm1 The Happy Peregrino Donating Member

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    Great list and reasoning. For myself I took different approaches on some stuff, and here is why.

    Water Bladders. I know a lot of folks do not like them, but I think that has a lot to do with poor pack design to carry them. My pack allowed me to insert and remove the bladder without having to open the pack. That makes a huge difference. I had a pack with the bladder inside and it was always a hassle to get the bladder in and as you say if it leaks (not a problem I had) it will soak everything. I had a 3 liter bladder that I filled to 2 liters everyday but one (that long stretch of 17 k with no facilities). Two liters got me through all but two days and I never had to worry about getting water along the way. Folks are right though when they say it is easy to get more water along the path. I just liked knowing I had what I needed for the day.

    Pack weight. My pack was 34 pounds! I know that is a lot but I am on an insulin pump and needed to carry my supplies, plus I made the decision to carry a tablet with keyboard because I was planning on doing a lot of journaling along the way and wanted to be able to type quickly. In the end I captured over 50000 words that may be the root of a book (it has expanded to over 100000 since coming home). At the time I did not have a smart phone but I just do not think that I would have been as prolific typing with my thumbs. I guess my point about weight is that you can carry what you train for. A good pack makes all the difference. There is no one best pack for everyone. You need to experiment with a loaded pack while walking to know for sure which one is right.

    Training. I trained for 10 months. I walked over 700 miles and climbed over 100000 feet on my treadmill, around my block and in the hills. I started with 3 mile walks and over six months built this up to 12 miles (what I planed for a typical day), a very slow increase. At first I walked 3 days a week, then 4 and worked my way up to 6 days in a row. Right before I left for the Camino I walked 12 miles 6 days in a row. I figured if I could do that I was ready. As I trained with the weight I carried, and I went through 3 packs until I found the right one, I never had any issues with my pack or the weight. All that training paid off on the trail. Even at 61 I was passing younger folks on hills, I never had any blisters or leg problems. Training pays.

    Taking Breaks. I had planned on walking 6 days and taking a day off every week. For the most part I did this, but it depended on where I was and how I was feeling, One stretch I walked for 10 days in a row, but that was the longest. On another occasion I took a day off after walking only two days. I left my schedule open so I could stop where I wanted, but I am retired and have the luxury of time. Breaks are important! I love Spain and those days off allowed me to see Spain and meet people that I would never get to meet on a standard vacation. Take time to smell the roses.

    I know some say leave your camera at home, but I did not. In the end I took over 8500 photos and recorded over an hour of video. The Camino inspired me to take better photos than I have ever taken before, it was a very creative period for me. I also captured some of the most poignant moments of my life on video as I talked about what I was feeling along the way. I used all this material to make a video record of the trip which you can find on YouTube. Here is the URL to my story...

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTRlZoyX53Fdkz996kkzQqQ/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd

    I am in training now for my next Camino in Sep of 2018, the Camino Portugues. Good luck with your next walk and of course, Buen Camino.
     
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  9. Josh unçu

    Josh unçu Member

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    Ultreia Steve,
    Good advises, good views and good kms.per day at the begining but as you said each creates the personal camino, at a diferent time than any other altough some of them may croos in each other path. Buen camino. JÇ.
     
  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Steve - Great advice about training for the Camino! I met too many pilgrims who underestimated the endurance required to comfortably walk the 500 mile Camino and not be completely shot at the end of the day. How you prepared for the walk was not a whole lot different than my training. And boy, did it ever pay off! Interestingly, I found that many of the younger pilgrims clearly showed their fatigue on climbs and over time more so than so than those of us in the "senior" category.

    Like you, I trained for the better part of a year before walking the Camino. Could I have walked the Camino without training? Sure, but the difficulty of the walk would have been significantly higher. What I would emphasize for anyone planning to walk the Camino is to build in rest days along The Way. Just like athletes in any sport, rest is an important component in both training and competing.
     
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  11. Jantina

    Jantina New Member

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    I did like your post and I will take your advice. I work on my feed everyday and wear crocks. I never have any trouble like blisters etc. The only downsides are if they get wet and dirt comes in. I just wash my feet in the evening and avoid puddles.
     
  12. senorbill

    senorbill New Member

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    Training. I trained for 10 months. I walked over 700 miles and climbed over 100000 feet on my treadmill, around my block and in the hills. I started with 3 mile walks and over six months built this up to 12 miles (what I planed for a typical day), a very slow increase. At first I walked 3 "days a week, then 4 and worked my way up to 6 days in a row. Right before I left for the Camino I walked 12 miles 6 days in a row. I figured if I could do that I was ready. As I trained with the weight I carried, and I went through 3 packs until I found the right one, I never had any issues with my pack or the weight. All that training paid off on the trail. Even at 61 I was passing younger folks on hills, I never had any blisters or leg problems. Training pays."​

    Stevelm1 I appreciated all of your thoughts and was especially impressed by your training. It not only made me feel inadequately prepared but made me realize that I had forgotten one other change that I am going to make, Which is Cross Training. I have since added this to my site.

    Training


    For my first Camino I trained by walking 12 KM with a pack 4 or 5 times a week for many months and I felt very sore for the first number of days on the Camino, and of course I developed shin splits after two weeks.

    This time I will take a different approach. I will still walk with a pack, but I will alternate my exercise routine between walking, running, biking, and swimming, to add some cross-training.

    Cross-training is essential to prevent overuse injuries that are associated with repetitive impact activity, such as shin splints as well as hip, lower-back and knee discomfort, …” - Runner’s Guide to Fitness

    Walking for hours is a classic example of Repetitive Impact Activity, so I am hoping that by varying my workouts I will help prevent these types of injuries.
     
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  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Seniorbill - Cross-training is definitely the way to go for anyone who exercises whether there's a Camino in their future or not. In the summer, I cycle 3-4 days a week (usually about 100 miles). On the other 2-3 days, I do something else (usually running or workouts at the gym). In the cold winters of upstate New York, I continue to run a couple times a week, but I spend much more time at the gym either doing strength training or indoor cardio workouts. I always take off 1 day a week for rest.

    I've mentioned this before, but the major mistake I made was not training enough wearing my backpack. Even though my training now includes my pack, I'm only carrying what I intend to carry on my spring Camino which is significantly under the 10% recommendation. But, by doing this, both my back and shoulders will be very greatful.

    Commit yourself to regular pre-Camino conditioning and you'll be thanking yourself, particularly when you arrive in Roncesvalles, for the time and effort you put into getting into shape. Buen Camino!
     
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  14. keithlundy1

    keithlundy1 New Member

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    I'm flying onto Biarritz on Monday 24th July arriving at 17.05hrs, is there anyone arriving at the same time wish to share a taxi to SJPP, much better than the coach which took forever last time I did it and haring a taxi is just as cheap. Keith
     
  15. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Keith - When you say the "coach", do you mean the bus? Out of necessity due to a train strike in Aquitaine, I shared a taxi from the Bayonne train station to SJPP. For that distance, our metered fare came to over 100€. You'll be even higher from the Biarritz airport. It's a pretty expensive way to travel even if you are sharing with 2-3 others. Check out Express Bourricot. If they have a full van in from the airport, it's just 19€ a person.
     
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  16. keithlundy1

    keithlundy1 New Member

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    Much appreciated Wily I'll check it out
     
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