Training for long distance walking/hiking (pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela). Suggestions?

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    Jun 03, 2009 4:24 AM GMT
    I want to go next year. I am up to walking about 9 miles a day, 4-5 times a week. I really don't know where to go from there. What should I do training wise? Has anyone done the pilgrimage? Stretching exercises specific to walking/hiking? Any ideas suggestions would be appreciated.
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    Jun 08, 2009 1:06 AM GMT
    Stretching is always a good idea in order to avoid trainming injuries - and to give you a better ange of motion.

    Generally, training needs to be planned to fit your goals, so keep that in mind in the following, which is what we do for cross-country skiing:

    We generally do two over distance workouts per week, that is, two workouts that are 50% ot 2 x longer than the "event". These should be at "talking speed"

    We do one high intensity workout - but this is probably not necessary to you. Still, it peaks conditions: say 10 x 1 minute up a steep hill, with a good rest between, or "natural intervals" where you let a hill dictate how long and how ahrd you go. Go for a heart rate 30-50 beats over normal.

    We do three easy workouts. These are at "talking" intensity. Most people train too hard too often.

    And don't forget a rest day!

    Hope this may be of some help or at least something to think about!

    Nat
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    Jun 08, 2009 1:23 AM GMT
    As someone who has coached hundreds of people to walk marathons, I would say that one of the most important things is that you have to get used to being on your feet for hours. While speed work and everything is important, you have to be used to being perpendicular to the ground for hours on end. Make sure that your training program has a least one long walk a week, and a few medium walks.

    Also, if you can watch your form, and get anyone to give you some pointers one having a smoother, more efficient walk, that will pay dividends down the road. When I was more actively coaching, I would spend the first 6 weeks on technique, and not worry about distance for a while. If you can see if there's anything that is jolting and not smooth, that's something you should try to fix.
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    Jun 08, 2009 1:51 PM GMT
    Thank you for the suggestions... I think I may be overdoing it, from what I hear, need to maybe have shorter walks more often and then long walks a couple of times a week. I am going to look to see if there is any groups in the city that can help me look into my walking technique. Make sure I am doing it right.

    Wow, the whole route from France into Spain sounds incredibly long. How long does that take to do?

    Quick question, too. How often do you change your walking shoes?
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    Jun 08, 2009 8:32 PM GMT
    After you do that, think about doing the 4-day Inca Trail Hike in Peru. It was the best hike I ever did.
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    Jun 10, 2009 6:49 PM GMT
    Yes, you have to have a guide. Actually, you have to go in groups. Not sure of the minimum but our group had 11 or 12. Nobody can do the hike on their own. I suggest Llama Path. They were an excellent hiking group. I can't remember where it starts but it's not far from Cuzco(where you'll be staying and flying in and out of). The hike takes four days to get to Macchu Pichu. The second day is the hardest. The hike that day was 12 hours or so and you climb very high. I'm physically fit and it was tough on me. Mostly because of the altitude. The fourth day isn't really a full day. You wake up a few hours before the sun rises, hike in the dark, and make it to Macchu Pichu to watch the sun rise over it. Pretty magical. Yes, there's definitely a spiritual component to the place. You feel an energy. Along the hike you see a lot of ruins and beautiful scenery that the people who take a train or bus to Macchu Pichu miss. Do it while you're young. There were a few older people in my group but it's definitely not one of the things you want to put off for retirement. You need to be in top form physically.
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    Jun 11, 2009 8:40 PM GMT
    It's a matter of altitude, to be quite honest. I may be wrong, but I don't think the Santiago de Compostela hike puts you in very high altitude. I KNOW it doesn't put you in the high altitude that the Inca Trail hike does. It's a matter of length vs. altitude and both can kick your ass. Probably equally.