Monday, April 20, 2015

Getting ready for the Camino

As for any endurance or multiday event, I think that preparation & planning comes under 3 headings: physical, mental and logistical.

Physical preparation
This is relatively easy. I’m experienced enough in long events and challenges to know how to prepare. 

The last few weeks have upped my mileage and the last 3 weeks I have covered 80, 85 and 100 miles respectively. I’m mixing up hilly and flattish runs to mimic the terrain I’ll be running over. 

The first few days will be hilly over the Pyrenees, but in the middle of the Camino is the Meseta – 100 miles of virtually flat plains on the central plateau of Spain. Sounds like Lincolnshire really! There will be plenty of tarmac through the bigger towns.

Nevertheless, I'll have to average 30 miles/day for 16 days so it's a tough ask. 

Mental, or spiritual, preparation
I feel this is more important than for any other challenge I’ve ever undertaken.  Yes, this will be a significant physical challenge but I feel truly drawn to do the Camino. The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage and I am treating it as such. 

I am currently reading a very interesting book, The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau, which looks at pilgrimage from a secular and non-secular point of view. 

I have asked to receive a blessing at our church before we leave. 

I plan to truly experience the Camino, stopping to visit the old churches and monasteries that are plentiful along the route. There will also be the possibility at staying at monasteries overnight which I am really looking forward too. 

Leon cathedral
12th century church at Eunate
I will not be running to tight constraints and will stop where it feels right to stop. I will not be putting myself under pressure by trying to keep to a tight schedule and will try my best to just go with the flow.

Logistical planning
This entails kit choices and researching the route.

The kit bit is relatively simple. It’s not as though I haven’t got enough of the stuff! However, there are a few key decisions:
  1. Rucksack - I'll be going with my new Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20. I wanted something which didn’t inhibit the running and the Fastpak is designed around a race vest structure. Water bottles on the front. Phenomenally comfortable.
  2. Shoes – well, I was planning to wear my trusty Speedcross but my plantar fasciitis is playing up a bit so Hoka’s it is. Not so good on the rocky stuff but much better on the flat terrain and tarmac. 
  3. Sleeping bag vs silk liner – lots of discussion on this topic on the various forums, and many just take a liner and use blankets that may be supplied at the albergues. I feel the cold and am probably going to take my lightweight Marmot bag that went on the MdS with me.
Otherwise, I’ll be taking a spare set of kit, a warmer base layer, a light weight insulation layer and waterproofs plus the usual kind of stuff. Also, the popular John Brierley guidebook and a small notebook as I plan to keep a journal.

As I’ve already stated I’m not planning on staying at particular locations. I have booked flights to St Jean Pied de Port and home from Santiago de Compostela, and an albergue at the start and hotel at the end…..and that’s it. The guidebook lists all accommodations, and I have marked places of particular interest and those accommodations which sound interesting or are recommended, but I won’t be constrained by these.

The aubergues are dormitory-style and range from 4 bed to 100 bed rooms! They cost around 10€/night and will often provide a communal supper and breakfast in the morning. A figure of 30€/day is generally quoted as a daily budget. That doesn’t include ice cream!!

So it's all on track.

I leave 3 weeks tomorrow and I am getting really excited. Just got to keep the old body in one piece!

1 comment:

chloe said... [Reply to comment]

he he i was under way for 5 weeks and spent under 400 euros. .. !!! :-o I really did it mega cheap though,.. i carried a tent,and a cooker ..and slept in a hotel once !! i did however drink an awful lot of beer :-) and this was almost ten years ago,. i can imagine the prices have altered slightly since then. 30 euros a day is in any case plenty i would say ! maybe try to eat not directly on the camino..much cheaper and the quality is probably better anyway if you wander a little further into the village (when there is one ).

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