It has been a solid 2 months of walking in nasty winter conditions of varying cold arctic winds, heavy snow, ice storms, and slippery, dangerous surfaces. Last week I had an “I hate winter meltdown’ caused by feeling like an arctic vampire; living without sunlight and warmth and considered moving south. It was time to recalibrate, get perspective and put a positive spin on the winter blues. After all I am Canadian, and there are still 2 months until spring so I better “get a grip” and remember why I am training in these harsh conditions in the first place – to prepare me for the endurance required on the Camino!
I have been training and walking in the snow using trekking poles for the last few weeks to prepare for the Camino de Santiago next year. It is not formally winter yet here in Canada, but the cold and snowy conditions are definitely here, and are early. I think that winter training will prepare me for any harsh weather conditions on the Camino trail. Mental toughness and conditioning are required to deal with:
- Deep snow
- biting freezing winds
- frost bitten, cold limbs
- freezing rain or blinding snow falls,
- icy, uneven surfaces
- multiple and heavy layers of clothing
In this blog post I was planning to write about my shopping search for Trekking poles. However the last 2 weekends have been a snow fest and I have not been out shopping. This is unfortunate since the more it snows, the more I need those walking poles. During my last walk I found a tree branch and used that as a walking pole to help me trudge through the snow on the Trans Canada Trail. Instead I will write about my other major exercise commitment for my Camino Santiago de Compostella training in the form of Yoga warm up and cool down poses for long distance walking.
In June when I started my walking training, I also started my Yoga Instructor Training. My main reason for taking the 200 hour instructor training was to be able to “deep dive” into the Yoga poses for both stretching and strengthening my muscles, breathing (pranayama) techniques to help build my lung capacity and meditation to help with the mental toughness and confidence to complete the 800 kilometer walk. My goal was to be able to design a yoga practice to support my training efforts for the walk, and to keep me stretched and limber during the actual 40 days of walking on the Camino trail.
At the beginning of June when I made my decision to walk 800 km on the Camino de Santiago in 2014, I had to take an honest look at the fitness and training involved to complete the walk. Things like:
- My Camino Fitness Goals?
- My exercise history and my current fitness level?
- My ideas and perceptions about myself and exercise, as I close in on 60?
- The exercise types, and activities I prefer, and did those include long distance walking?
- Could I commit to the time and effort?