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Training for the Way of Saint James

Training and stretching for the Way of Saint James

The Way of Saint James requires a physical effort for the pilgrim. The person who decides to do it entirely faces more than seven hundred kilometres to Santiago de Compostela. For the pilgrim who decides to travel only the hundred kilometres necessary to obtain La Compostela, the challenge is no less. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare physically and training before doing it.

How to train for the Pilgrim’s Route?

Two or three weeks before making the journey, the pilgrim should start training walking progressively. You should always train with the footwear you are going to use. In that way, you can know the friction points where blisters may appear.

It is advisable to go out several times a day and vary the distance and the hardness of the walk, with more or fewer slopes. In this way, the pilgrim’s body can get used to it and then comfortably face the different stages of the Route.

Another training recommendation is to walk with a loaded backpack. The pilgrim will carry all his luggage on his back during the Way. To avoid back or knee injuries, you must be sure that the weight is on the hips and not on the shoulders. The best way to check if this is the case is to walk with the backpack before the trip.

It is the legs that will take the most strain, especially the knees. For this reason, physiotherapist Dani Keral recommends strengthening the various muscle groups to avoid injuries resulting from weakness. You should train the quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, pelvis and buttocks.

How to face the slopes

The slopes are one of the main difficulties of the Way. Throughout the different stages, the pilgrim faces some ups and downs of great unevenness. The accumulated fatigue and the weight of the backpack can go against them, so it is advisable to face them with awareness.

Before ascending, take a short break, especially if you feel tired. Forcing your body on a climb can cause an injury that prevents you from being able to finish the pilgrimage. Faces the slopes at your own pace because there is no hurry. It is advisable to have one or two walking poles to support you.

Stretching

Stretching becomes crucial to prepare for the Way of Saint James. Dani Keral recommends doing it before and during to prepare the muscles to face physical activity. And after, to reduce the tension accumulated throughout the stage and to be able to face the next one.

Stretching before and during the walk should be short, about 10-15 seconds per posture. In this way, the muscle is activated without tensing. Those done afterwards should be longer, between 30-60 seconds, to relax all the muscles.

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