I just walked the Camino Frances of the Camino de Santiago—that’s 118 kilometers in 5.5 days. I have much to say but as some friends of mine are currently walking the camino, I will focus on how to help them walk the camino better.

As you walk through forests, woodlands, pastures, towns and villages, there will be steep and rocky ascents and descents. The ascents challenge our legs and lungs, the descents, our ankles and knees.

Going up, take small steps, build momentum and don’t stop till you get to the top. If you stop midway, it will be hard to carry on. Going down, jog. It is easier on your legs, knees and ankles.

If you cannot jog downhill, walk in a zigzag pattern instead. Use walking poles. Some don’t like carrying poles because you don’t need them all the time. But I like carrying one because it doubles as a self-defense weapon.

But no worries, the route from Sarria to Santiago is safe.

At all times, walk at your own pace. When you find the right gait and pace, you become more efficient.

Stop for bathroom breaks at the many bars and restaurants along the way. But choose to snack instead of lunch. Don’t stop and sit for a long meal. It will be hard for your body to continue.

Eat wisely. You don’t want to upset your stomach. Don’t feed your body junk. Stay away from cookies and candy. Eat fruits. I subsisted on three to five bananas during the walks. Besides other sources of protein and carbohydrates, eat eggs, yoghurt and vegetables daily.

Drink tart fruit juices for recovery. To replenish your electrolytes, drink Aquarius, available in Limon (Lemon) and Naranja (Orange) flavors. It is similar to Pocari.

Chocolate milk is the best recovery drink but none can be found in the bars that dot the Galician countryside. But as I am lactose-intolerant, my recovery drink of choice was pineapple juice for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Eat and drink with the intention of assisting muscle recovery. Remember, you have to walk for at least 20 kilometers daily for at least five consecutive days. You must endure. And you cannot afford to be injured.

Dynamic stretches to warm-up. Static stretches to cool down. End your warm shower at the end of the day with a cold-water spray on your body for as long as you can endure. Use Magnesium spray daily.

Use only synthetic blends for socks. If you can, use toe socks. Your toes must stay dry because moisture plus friction is the recipe for blisters. Coat every toe before each walk with cocoa butter or petroleum jelly.

After the walk, air your feet. Take off your socks and shoes and wear sandals.

During the walk, bring only the essentials: water, snacks, medication, rain gear, phone and your faith.

The walk is long and hard but if you persist, you will prevail. To my fellow pilgrims still on the trail now, buen camino!