Preparing For The Camino de Santiago

How I got myself ready for walking five hundred miles

Nick Barlow
Walk The Walk
Published in
9 min readSep 17, 2022

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Walking the Camino de Santiago earlier this year was one of the best experiences of my life. It was an amazing way to step out from the world and spend time with myself as I walked the length of Spain… but I’ve already written about all that.

The Camino was incredible, but what helped me to enjoy it rather than merely endure it was the preparation I’d done beforehand. By getting myself physically and mentally ready for it, I was able to be part of the experience and not get distracted by little things throughout.

I’m going to share the way I prepared here, but I want to be clear that this is me sharing my experience, not laying down a training plan for you. Like when I wrote about doing the London Marathon, this is how I did it, not how I think everyone should do it. If you want a “this is what you MUST do before walking the Camino” guide then, well, there shouldn’t be such a thing, but YouTube exists.

It’s your Camino, and you can walk it and prepare for it however you want, don’t let anyone tell you there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. This is just advice, and you can take some, none, or all of it, I don’t mind.

The Camino wasn’t my first long walk. I walked from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 2006 and while that experience helped with the Camino it was in learning from the mistakes I made back then. I carried too much in my backpack, picked up all sorts of niggles on the way, and was so stiff and sore at the end I could barely walk for a week afterwards. Even though the Camino Frances is half the length of that, I was sixteen years older and knew there were things I needed to sort out before I headed off on the Camino.

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Nick Barlow
Walk The Walk

Former academic and politician, now walking, cycling and working out what comes next. https://linktr.ee/nickbarlow