Saturday, July 11, 2009

Training-"Keep Walking Ambrose"

"Climb the mountains and get their tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." John Muir

Even though we walk every day, it would be foolish to attempt a long distance trek without some kind of training program.

Whether it be running, swimming, biking, walking, or any sport for that matter, the best training for it is to do the specific thing you are training for. If your event is running, train by running, if it is swimming, train by swimming, etc.

My pilgrimage through Spain will be about 500 miles through 3 mountain chains with several peaks of nearly 5,000 feet. Most of the walking is off road, sometimes through rocks, shale, gravel and uneven terrain. I will be walking for more than 30 days on average of 5 to 8 hours each day.

So, I have been training by walking and hiking. Fortunately for me, I love to walk and live in a beautiful area for walking. I generally walk for an hour or more each day just for the love of a good walk. But now that I have been training for my long distance trek, I have found that it is a must to walk for longer periods.

I will be carrying a backpack every day, so I have been walking with a fully loaded backpack during my training walks. Trust me, it is a lot harder to walk carrying 15 pounds on your back than just taking an evening stroll.

There are several good trek training programs available. At Do It For there is a 16 week trek training program and it is what I have been using as the basis for my training, with some modifications that work best for me.

Basically, I walk from 1 to 2 hours daily, sometimes I skip a day. Each week I increase one or two walks by 1 hour. My long walk is now up to 5 hours.

Walking has so many healthy benefits. it strengthens muscles, bones and joints. It can reduce the risk of many diseases from heart attack, stroke, hip fracture, breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. It helps with weight loss, boosts good cholesterol, and prevents depression.

The list goes on and on. If you want to read more about the benefits of walking read this good article at

Less than 2 months before I start my pilgrimage. I can't wait!!



  1. Hi Rita,
    If you enjoy Thomas Merton (I love his spiritual writings) you will like this quote and his Pilgrimage prayer:

    “Sitting at home and meditating on the divine presence is not enough for our time. We must come to the end of a long journey and see that the stranger we meet there is no other than ourselves - which is the same as saying we find Christ in him."

    My Lord God,
    I have no idea where I am going.
    I do not see the road ahead of me.
    I cannot know for certain where it will end....
    Nor do I really know myself,
    and the fact that I think I am following your will
    does not mean that I am actually doing so.
    But I believe that the desire to please you does
    in fact please you.
    And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
    I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
    And I know that if I do this,
    You will lead me by the right road, though
    I may know nothing about it.
    Therefore will I trust you always though
    I may seem lost in the shadow of death.
    I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
    and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
    Thomas Merton – Pilgrim prayer


  2. Hi Sil
    Thank you for this lovely Pilgrim prayer from Merton.
    I have enjoyed and learned much from reading your various blogs.