Many people start out walking on flat, even ground. However, it’s worth preparing for the uneven terrain. Start with a staircase of about 30 steps, going up and down for perhaps an hour a day or if you live near hilly terrain, incorporate some hill walking into your schedule. This is particularly important for the downhill part of the Camino – while uphill walking takes more energy, your muscles will be stretched more by rough descents.
Test practical things for your Camino walk in advance: Some hikers, for example, swear by covering their feet with Vaseline under their socks to prevent blisters – if you’re walking long distances regularly, you can work out whether this helps you, or whether you find it a bit uncomfortable.
Depending on the duration of your Camino whether you are going for 5 walking days or 30+, the body will react differently over time. The first thing to hurt will be feet (blisters) and after a week, the knees. After two weeks, you may experience pain in your hips and then back. Good equipment, packing, training in advance and rest are needed to manage this.
Veteran walkers of the Camino will tell you that the first five days are the hardest. It’s very true: the human body is remarkable, and will adapt itself well to a demanding environment. Investing some time in training as you get ready for the Camino will help a great deal!