Since I hadn’t been very active for a very long time, I was not sure that walking The Way of St. James was a good idea. In fact, the excitement wore off pretty quickly and turned to fear of the unknown and a multitude of questions. What about my asthma? Would my knees give out? What if I can’t get enough sleep? That fear lead to hours of research. I could not find a training schedule for the 8 weeks we had to prepare, so I developed one of my own. Most of the information I read from people post-Camino was that they were ill-prepared for the hills, both the steep ups and the steep downs. Fortunately, we live in the mountains surrounding Boquete, Panamá. We had our pick of several areas with varying elevations for training.
Blisters are another hot topic on Camino forums and blogs. Everyone wants to know the perfect formula for shoes, socks and foot care to avoid blisters. Before moving to Boquete, I purchased a pair of popular-brand hiking boots in hopes of following my husband around on occasion. I have wide feet with a very high arch, so when I tried on boots that I could get my feet in with enough shoelace left to tie, I bought them. Ray practically lives in his boots and has several pairs of wool hiking socks, so he was already set. We made plans to join a hiking group on the next short hike and I was motivated to get my training started. The hike was less than 2 hours and 4 miles long, however, it started out with a steep incline and returned the same way. The foot bed in my boots had little arch support and felt like I was walking on bricks. Sure enough, I ended up with a large blister behind my big toe. That was the first and last hike I took in those boots. After much research, I decided to try my trail running shoes with double-layer socks and used Vaseline to coat the soles and sides of my feet and in between my toes. I read about a way to tie my shoes to keep my heels back and not allow my toes to slide to the front of the shoes on the steep down hills. This becomes important in preserving the toe nails and has worked well for me during training.
Eventually, I will post my training schedule here with comments as to what would have helped to make it better.