As part of my preparation for this walk, I’ve been training – and doing walks that will approximate what I’ll face on the Camino.
On the weekend I did a 28km walk with my backpack loaded to 8kgs. This is roughly what I’ll be carrying.
My walk took me from Mudgee in rural New South Wales, along a country road to a small town called Lue. All on tar. About 8km into the walk my right knee started to give me pain. This is a recurring injury from my running days. I was determined that this wouldn’t stop me, so I shifted my weight more to my left leg, and in the process unbeknown to me, I busted the gel sack in the inner sole in my boot.
I then started to feel a “hot spot” on my left heel, which is the precursor to a blister. About 12km in I finally stopped, took off my boot and realised what had happened. The inner sole at the heel was disintegrating. Stupidly I put my boot on and kept walking.
The last 15kms were pure agony. The knee was stabbing me intermittently, but my left heel was murder. When I finally got to Lue I took off my sock and found a huge blister had formed. In about 2500kms of walking over the past several years, this is the first blister I’ve ever had.
I subsequently treated the blister with a patch called Compeed, which is highly recommended by hikers and now I know why. It took the pain away, and has allowed me to continue my training.
1) If I get a hot spot, deal with it straight away.
2) Always carry Compeed with me.
3) Deal with my right knee issue because that was ultimately the cause of the problem.
Most importantly, now I know what blisters feel like, and how to treat them. So if the situation arises on the Camino, I’m now better informed.