Figuring out how to prepare ourselves for walking 12-15 miles (19-24 km) a day on the Camino was a daunting task when we were discussing the idea back in January. However, it was not totally unknown territory; a half-marathon is 13.1 miles (21 km) and Russell and I walked the New Orleans Half Marathon in just under 4 hours last year.
Looking at the calendar, we had 17 weeks to prepare. Using the half-marathon training plan as a starting point, here is the plan I came up with for getting us to the Camino. I later asked my triathlon coach to review it and she approved it with no changes. It’s nice to know I’ve learned a thing or two from the past 5 years of training for triathlons. :-)
The numbers are how many hours to walk each weekend. My idea was to build up to 4 hours and then start over and build up to 4 hours 2 days in a row (walk Saturday and Sunday). Then start over and build up to 4 hours 3 days in a row (walk Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Hopefully that should get us ready for walking a half-marathon every day for a week and a half.
week 1: 1.5 (January 21)
week 2: 2
week 3: 2.5
week 4: 3
week 5: 3.5
week 6: 4
week 7: 2 / 2
week 8: 2.5 / 2.5
week 9: 3 / 3
week 10: 3.5 / 3.5
week 11: 4 / 4
week 12: 2 / 2 / 2
week 13: 2.5 / 2.5 / 2.5
week 14: 3 / 3 / 3
week 15: 3.5 / 3.5 /3.5
week 16: 4 / 4 / 4
week 17: 1 / 1 / 1 / 1
week 18: The Camino (May 18 – June 2)
In addition, we walk 1 to 1.5 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All together, that’ll be over 110 hours and 300 miles (482 km) before we set one foot on the Camino! For the most part, we’ve followed the plan, except for a little variance in March when Russell had some knee problems and I had thumb surgery. But we’re now on week 12 of the training plan and back on track. On the weekends we walk with our backpacks, which we’ve gradually been putting more weight into. We’ll each carry about 15-17 pounds (7-8 kg) on the trip.
We also worked some fun events into the schedule. In February (week 6 of the plan), we went to New Orleans and I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon (I had signed up for that race a long time ago) and Russell walked the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.
In March (week 10 of the plan) Russell walked the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon while I recovered from thumb surgery.
I’m very confident that by the time we board the plane for Spain, we will be both physically and mentally prepared, but these workouts are tough, even for me who is used to crazy triathlon training. I’m super proud of Russell for sticking with it through the aches, pains, bad weather, and missed social events. It’ll all be worth it when we’re hiking through Spanish countryside meeting interesting people from all over the world! (It will, right?)
If you’re in the area and feel like stretching your legs, please join us for all or part of any of our walks. Russell and I are running out of topics to talk about. :-)