Your first reaction might have been similar to mine … walking for 800 km … are you crazy!? … and yet … a seed was planted in your mind. You may have started googling it … reading blogs… talking to pilgrims who did it. Until one day you realized you are hooked … and you actually want to experience the Camino yourself.
Can I do it?
You need to answer that one yourself. Most pilgrims I’ve seen on the Camino were over 60 years old (the oldest person I met was 79) and my impression was that vast majority weren’t experienced hikers or regular gym visitors.
I suggest you try it out … take a 5, 10 or 15 km walk … then do it couple of times per week … see how your body reacts.
I’m a somewhat of a couch potato and my initial test was a hiking weekend with a route of about 50 km in two days, with no prior preparation. Managing to complete in in one piece (more or less) convinced me I could do the Camino.
I think that the fitter you are the more enjoyable Camino is, so I warmly recommend long walks to build up your stamina for the Camino (not that I heeded my own advice … I hope you’ll be smarter). Here are more details ontraining for the Camino.
Camino is not a race or a marathon … whether you walk 5 or 30 km per day … Santiago will still be there, waiting for you.
Camino is not a walk in the park … there are people who can’t handle it … usually those that act as if its a race or seriously overestimate their fitness level.
If you have any medical condition that might be an issue, make sure you consult with your doctor.
Pick a route … any route
There is a Way for everyone … whether you are looking for more scenic views, historical sights, solitude in nature or social interaction with people worldwide … or all of the above. This article gives a more detailed overview of what to expect on individual routes.
You can start your Camino at any point on the route, it doesn’t have to be St. Jean for Camino Frances. You qualify for Compostela (official certificate of pilgrimage) if you walked for at least 100 km, which means starting from Sarria. For cyclists the minimum is 200 km.
Some people walk for a week or two, then return next year where they left off to continue on.