I’ve now been home for just over a week after hiking the Camino de Santiago although it somehow feels much longer than that – it was one of those experiences where you can’t remember what life was like before and can’t imagine what going back to real life would be like. You just feel like you’ll be walking along the trail for the rest of your life – and actually, you feel pretty good about that!
There was plenty of time for quiet reflection, and I learned a lot during the trip – not only about the Camino, but about myself, too. Read on to find out what I learned, what you should be looking forward to if you’re booked in to do the trip, and a couple of facts you might not already know about the trail!
Never assume that someone else has packed something important on a hike. That was the advice given to me by a seasoned hiker when I asked for beginners’ tips, so I decided to heed this for my Camino de Santiago trip and put some serious thought into my packing!
My usual weekend walks are around 3-4 hours, which means that if something goes wrong or conditions change you’re never too far from your car. Being on your feet for up to 9 hours on consecutive days when you can neither nip home to pick stuff up or pop into a big supermarket requires some very careful thought.
As I write I’ve just completed day 3 of the Camino hike, and so far I’m feeling pretty confident about my packing, so I’ll share with what I’ve been carrying in my day pack plus in my main bag to hopefully inspire your trek packing.
Those who can’t, judge… Or so the saying goes. Maybe you want to contribute to the community, or voluntary judging gets you a quicker route to competing next time – whichever you are, I highly recommend judging a CrossFit competition at least once, for everything you’ll learn along the way.
I took the CrossFit judges’ course in February so I could judge in the Open, then I recently judged at the Rainhill Trials – a competition I’ve competed in myself and will be competing in again – and since then I’ve been thinking of the lessons that judging has taught me, both from a judging and an athlete point of view.
Lessons one and two are specifically for judges; three and four for athletes. The final three are for how judges and athletes can work smoothly together, but I recommend you read all for a holistic view for your next competition, whether you’re competing or judging!
Training for a walk like the Camino de Santiago is very different to the challenges I’m used to, like recruiting my fast twitch muscle fibres and creatine energy system for a 1RM snatch or high box jump, say, or working the anaerobic system to get a fast mile time. The challenge of a long hike is the fatigue – both mental and physical – and keeping your muscles working together for the entire walk.
It’s less heavy squats and fast burpees, and more spending time on your feet and ensuring those small stabiliser muscles are being used optimally. Of course, it’s a given you need to do some longer weekend walks to prepare yourself, but there are other aspects you may not have thought of. Read on to hear about how I’ve been training over the past few weeks, and how you can apply the principles to a trekking challenge like the Camino.
Pancakes have experienced a prolonged moment in the fitness and health world for the past couple of years, and with good reason – you can customise them to fit your macros, plus they’re delicious with a variety of toppings. But making good pancakes escaped me for a very long time: mine would be too runny, too thick; too burned, too raw; in some cases just plain bad. I mixed and matched recipes I found on the internet that had ingredients I didn’t already have, thinking that randomly chosen substitutes would work well – this only contributed to the amount of pancake failures I suffered with.
It took me years to make my very first half-decent pancake, but now I’ve chanced upon a recipe that is pretty much fool-proof, works every time, and has decent macros whether you share with someone or eat them all. These are also made from ingredients you should already have in your cupboard, meaning no mixing and matching required!