Training for the Camino Gets Real

How will I train for my Camino adventure? How will I make it so lifting these boots for kilometers a day is a total blister-muscle-pain-soreness-free pleasure?

Boots_May2017There are lots of forums, blogs, websites, books and more with tips and fully designed plans for training for the Camino de Santiago. They are all so helpful and really have helped me figure out how I am going to train for my Camino.

The Camino adventure Lana Rae and I will be doing this fall is a bit of a mash up from the usual point A (St. Jean Pied de Port) to point B (Santiago) Camino. Ours includes the Pyrenees mountain section and final 100+ km of the Camino Frances, the Camino Finisterre taking us out to the Spanish coast through some long woodland stretches, and then finally the Camino Portuguese – Fisherman Coastal section with lots of walking right on the beach. Yahoo!

So basically I need to train for all manner of terrain, with temps in the 25C+ range, a month of walking with most days around 25-30km, and about a total 600km. Accounting for any detours to off trail historic sites, and lets be honest probably a couple get lost and found again kilometers too.

Hmm well here is my plan:

  • hike often
  • aim for round 15-20km each time
  • get in as many days back to back as possible
  • throw in at least a half dozen 30km
  • always with with 25lb in my pack
  • wear the boots and gear I will be wearing on the actual trip
  • throw in some stair training
  • get some overall weight training in
  • increase the yoga focus to limber up these getting creaky joints

Plan established (check) and now in progress (check).

JinkerstonStairs_ChilliwackI have been doing most of my training to date in my own neighbourhood which is just amazing to be able to do. I am lucky to live at the top of a big hill with the great Burns Bog trail system close by.

But I do need to kick it up a notch. To officially start my training plan I did a  jaunt up and down one of my favourite hikes in Chilliwack – Mount Thom. I parked a couple of kilometers away so I could get in some extra hill time and the horrible, torturous and awesome for training Jinkerson Stairs (all 240 of them). Now that will get the glutes and hammies working!

MountThom_ChilliwackFrom there, with some serious Darth Vader breathing, it was up and up the Mount Thom trail. Its an easy trail really with no scrambling at all but the ascent is pretty quick in some sections. And there are some random up and down sections throughout so just when the legs get burning up, you get a down section and a whole different set up muscles burning, then back up again.

MountThomView_ChilliwackI also like this trail for the nice number of folks on the trail. Not too many and not too few. Just enough so there are other food options for the bears and cougars. I prefer to not be the only main course for the wild beasties.

The view from the top is icing on the cake – you can see out over all of the amazing farms that Chilliwack boasts and the mountain range start out in the distance. So great!

A favourite, close-ish to home hike for sure.

FitBitMap_MntThomMay2017FitBitStats_MntThomMay2017Now I just need to get these ‘baseline / first training session’ stats kicked up a notch. Posting my first session FitBit stats here and I will toss up my last training stats doing this same hike before I go as my goal to see these improve.

Wow nothing like making myself publicly accountable!


There is truly so much pleasure in the training – I love hiking and most especially love just being out in nature listening to the birds or my podcasts and just doing a lot of thinking. I cant wait to experience the same joy of walking but in France, Spain and Portugal.. and I will have my bestie to chat with each step too. Hello!

1 month and 27 days to departure – and now I have a solid training plan and a end goal. That just makes this adventure quite real. Eeeeek so excited.





Found in Translation

Oh goodness me –  just had to share!

Over the past few weeks, Lana and I have been busy planning our Great Camino Mash Up Adventure. This is our catch phrase name for the 5 weeks we get to spend in France, Spain and Portugal taking part in the best parts of 3 different Camino pilgrimages. Check out Planning is Half the Fun! for way too many details on just how knee deep into planning we have been.

While bouncing about the world wide web during a recent planning weekend, Lana and I were finding ourselves quite amused. Some of the information on accommodation or travel websites in Spain and Portugal were hilarious. Either they are just darn funny people by nature (I hope so as that will make this trip even more fun) or Google Translate has wreaked some humorous havoc on their web fronts!

We had to share a few of our favourites which at 2am after hours of planning had us in stitches – of course what isn’t funny in the middle of the night with your bestie!

  • you shall see on your left hand side, a skat-park
  • chronic melting of volunteers
  • book to secure your most satisfaction
  • the soul given by each of you, to you
  • sheet low to use and throw away

Now while most made us laugh, I couple hit a bit home. These two statements that were seemingly lost in translation … may have actually been found in translation. I am hit by a much deeper meaning to these – for our lives and for this adventure.

Despite the passage is forbidden, continue

Despite the passage is forbidden, continue. This one had me thinking about all of the hardships we may run into and need to work through on our adventure. To overcome and just keep on stepping. Blisters, injuries, weather, malfunctioning gear, health issues, or whatever. Just take the next small step towards our goal. Despite it continue.

Trust in God and tether your camel.

Trust in God and tether your camel. Well this one definitely hits home for me as I am a bit of a worrier, ok sometimes more than a bit. I think this one will be a great reminder to just give it to God and know he will take care of us. Tether that anxiety or grumpiness or weariness and trust … and keep those hiking boots moving forward.

Awesome mantras for the adventure ahead!


Planning is Half the Fun!

Well lets start this post with some confessions of an adventurer…

I love planning. I love organizing. I love documenting details. I love images and maps of far off places. I love reading books about the far off places. I love research into destinations and gear and travel hacks.

All this love means that I am one of those quirky travelers who has the pleasure of loving the planning for a trip as much as the actual trip itself! No joke. And the bigger the trip, more countries, more flights, too many languages, different currencies – the more I enjoy it. Like a ‘giddy school girl with pig tails bouncing and clapping with little screams’ excited.  Get this wanderer some sharpies and post it notes, a pint of lager, and you will have a trip of a lifetime planned in detail in no time!

Deepening the confession level … I actually need things planned. Yup need it. Deep in my soul I am a ‘need to know the when, the how and the what’ in order to relax in the moment. I am not a fly by the seat of my pants globetrotter. Rather I am the researcher, advance planner and informed decision maker who dreams of cutting lose but gets a little chest pain when it actually happens. So thank goodness my quirks are resolved by something I love. I do not apologize for this must-plan trait in fact I am proud of it. It brings me a little closer to our Strachan Clan motto of “not timid, just cautious”. Boom!

So let the planning fun begin . . . for our big Camino Mash Up,  Lana and I will be walking 5 weeks worth of 3 Camino Ways in France, Spain and Portugal.

Blank Slate Trip

A blank slate – like a big, amazing canvas!

Lana flew in to Vancouver for a long weekend and we spent it planning, planning, planning. Before Lana arrived we had our flights booked and had, for the most part, decided our route we would take on the 3 Caminos – a spreadsheet may have been involved. So we knew  arrivals and departure, roughly which days were we walking, and where we had to find a bed at night. A great start to our blank canvas!

We set ourselves up on the deck by day and the kitchen table by night. Armed with our poster size calendar, laptop, iPad, travel books, spreadsheet route, snacks, pints, post it notes, sharpies, and a pencil  – we got to planning. The pencil was for Lana – she hates when I use a sharpie on the poster or post its before the plan is set in stone. Makes me laugh.

Planning by day – on the deck!

Planning and eating.

Planning by night – at the kitchen table!






After a near 4 solid days of planning (I may have accidentally made Lana help me paint my living room and french doors when we weren’t planning) we had a pretty solid plan. Add in a couple more weeks of planning by text between me in B.C and Lana in Alberta, and we have a perfect plan! If we do say so ourselves. I could do this for a living!

Planning complete!

Planners gotta plan – its like art!

Ok we do have two days where we need to find a place to sleep but we have 2 months and 2 days to sort that out and technically we could always just show up in the town and find a bed  on the day of. Like real pilgrims.

Wow, this trip has gotten very real now that it is all planned. It feels great to be so ahead of the game on this. Now to wrap our head around the packing list!