The walking which usually do is not the same – unless mostly are regular hikers or mountaineers – than walking continuously for five or six hours, which is what they will do in the stages of the Camino de Santiago.
Therefore, so that the stages do not become torture – the Camino is to be enjoyed. – it is convenient to take into account some tips that will facilitate this task.
Before starting to walk it is advisable to do some stretching, especially of the legs. Hikers place theirselves with their hands against a wall, and they gradually support the entire soles of the feet, until they feel a certain tension behind the knees as the body gets closer to the ground.Likewise, it is convenient to start with a moderate speed, gently, never in a hurry, until the body warms up.
· Pace of the march
Once you feel that youhave already ‘warmed up’, you can accelerate, marching regularly and continuously, as far as possible, with a smooth and rhythmic step. Finding the rhythm of each one is very important, since each one is comfortable with a different cadence of pace.While walking, you must always maintain a pace that is comfortable for you, that allows you to carry on a conversation without any effort.Walking has to become as natural as breathing, that you do it without realizing it.
It is very possible that the Camino de Santiago map itself forces you to make very frequent stops, to see a monument or church, ask any questions, take a photo, etc.
In addition to these types of stops, in principle you should rest at least ten minutes every hour or two (maximum), or more if necessary.
· Ups and downs
On flat ground, let’s go at your normal pace, not too long or too short.On the ascents, since you are not in a hurry, with a shorter and slower step —even loosening the belt of the backpack to be able to breathe better—, and supporting the foot with the entire sole on the ground, to avoid overloading certain areas.
On the descents and as long as the floor itself allows it, with a long and fast step, setting the heels well and perhaps tightening the backpack a little more at the waist so that our shoulders rest.
· Attention to where we step
The Way is a million steps, it is said.And you don’t have to neglect any of them and see where you put your foot; a single misstep can force you to withdraw; therefore, especially when you go through rough terrain , loose stone or pebbles, you must be attentive when stepping.You have to be especially careful on wet, muddy terrain, as it is very easy to slip and fall to the ground.
There are people who are reluctant to use canes when walking and others who are strong advocates of their benefits.Although many believe that the hiking or trekking pole is an expendable accessory, it is actually almost essential.The cane helps to maintain balance (three or four points of support are better than two) and reduces fatigue in the knees and ankles.In addition, the risk of sprains is reduced.
Advantages of using poles during the stages:
- They are a strong point of support for when we are tired.
- They allow us to hold on better when we go down hills and descents.
- They also help on steep ascents.
- They are positive from a physicaland exercise point of view.
- They can serve as a defense against unexpected attacks by animals.
Other tips for walking properly
- Relaxed shoulders:avoid raising them when increasing the pace as you waste energy.
- Balance your arms:this way you achieve less effort and facilitate optimal oxygen aspiration.They should be kept close to the body and flexed at an angle close to 90 degrees.
- Relaxed hands
- Take care of the tread : the correct thing is to support the heel – foot – toe.
Avoid walking on the balls of your feet.
The toes of the foot should face forward.
- Bend your knee slightly when supporting your heel.