Run Wales

Helpful Advice For Those New to Running

To coincide with the launch of the Run Wales Shop we invited our retail partner Sole Mate, Merthyr Tydfil’s newest independent running store and Run Wales Kit stockist, to share some useful information for those who are new to the wonderful world of running. There are so many options with shoes, gear and apparel in a world of choice that can seem very confusing at first. Read on below as Solemate’s owner Paul takes you through some tips on what you need to get started, enjoy your running and stay injury free!

Slow Down!

On the Sole Mate social run ( we always tell people to run at “conversational pace”.  What does that mean? Well if you can’t string a sentence or two together when you’re running, you’re probably going too fast! Slow it down, the speed will come over time.

Correct Fitting shoes
It’s something we see day in day out at Sole Mate. We always ask customers “what size are you in regular day to day shoe?” Followed by “and a running shoe..?” Probably 60% of the time the answer is the same, or a stunned look. You will need to size up generally with a running shoe, at least half a size, if not more depending on the shoe and the brand. We always say to allow a thumbs width of room at the front of the shoe to allow for swelling as yes your feet will swell after a few miles. So when they do, there’s room for the foot. Call us old-fashioned, but we prefer 5 toe nails on a foot!

Gait Analysis
Having your gait analysed isn’t mandatory. If you’ve got a pair of shoes that you’re running in, you’re injury free and you’re comfortable, then crack on! However, if you’re looking for new shoes and want to make sure that they are the correct ones, then we would advise to get it done to ensure you increase the chances of staying injury free.
Our gait analysis service not only looks at the foot and how it lands and moves, but also how stable your hips are, how much load is travelling through your legs to the pelvis and how symmetrical you are.
We do this through the use of technology, meaning you can see for yourself which shoes work best for you and your running style.

Foot Pain
We speak to a lot of new runners who are suffering with sore feet after starting running. There’s always an element of whether it’s down to the increase in activity, but best be sure that it’s not down to the wrong shoes. Socks can also play a part!

Shin Pain
As per the foot pain point above, a lot of new runners will suffer with “shin splints”. While the term is probably overused or sometimes misused, we see a lot of people in store with mis-purposed shoes. We even see those who’ve realised how amazing running is run every day for the last 40 and are now suffering a bit. As a new runner you need to build the mileage you run slowly, the 10% rule is a great rule to go by. Increase your weekly mileage by only 10% per week.

Despite what TikTok tells you, you don’t need a £130 hydration vest with 20 litres of storage to complete a 5k. However, you’ll likely need somewhere to store a phone, car key, and maybe some water if the weather is warm. There are plenty of cheaper options to be had in the form of belts starting at 1L which will be enough for a mahoosive phone, and a key.

It is so important to stay hydrated! Not only while you run, but generally on a day to day basis. If your muscles are dehydrated, then they are likely to cramp. To ensure they stay nice and cramp free, we always take on plenty of water throughout the day and once a day will top up on electrolytes.

We’re not talking recovery shakes, or recovery sliders, although we do stock both! Never underestimate sleep and rest in your training plan. It’s when your body repairs itself from the strain you’re putting it through. Even crazy distance ultra runners who move for days on end need to rest and recover as part of their training, even swapping out an hours running for an hours rest and sleep if given the option under certain circumstances. It’s not cheating!

We wouldn’t recommend any particular brand here, as everyone has their favourites. It can depend on many factors, such as the surface the conditions, location however getting an actual running sock on your feet is essential. We’d strongly recommend avoiding cotton. Once it gets wet, it’s very unforgiving! Trail socks will also come with additionally padded heels and toes to help with the uneven ground and the declines.

Sports Bra
For the ladies, we cannot underestimate the importance. If you’re not sure the size you’re wearing is right for you, book an appointment to get yourself measured correctly. We currently stock Runderwear and Brooks.

Rubbing / Chafing
At some point early on, most people will get some rubbing or chafing which you might not notice until later on. A good way to avoid it is by wearing moisture wicking underwear, which we’ve got for both men and women. If required you can use a balm or other products to stop the rubbing.

Cap / Shades
Keep the sun or more likely the rain in Wales, out of your eyes with a cap or sunglasses. A cap will also stop sweat running into your eyes in the warmer weather and special running sunglasses won’t bounce or slide down your nose when you’re running.

Moisture Wicking clothing
All clothing you wear to run should be moisture wicking. This clothing will pull the moisture away from your skin, meaning that it dramatically reduces the chance of chafing, and during the colder months stops you from getting cold. The new Run Wales range also features moisture wicking clothing!

Layer your clothing.
It’s very easy to over or under dress for the weather in the UK, you never know what it’s going to do. If you run in the hills like us, it can be completely different at the top than at the bottom. Getting breathable clothing is vital as well as the waterproof option if needed. Layering up is a great way to be able to get warmer or to cool down, by being able to add or remove a layer. If you wear 1 layer that isn’t breathable and is too warm for the effort or conditions, there’s not much you can do!

Headtorch / Reflective Clothing In winter, when the mornings and evenings and dark, it is vital for you to be able to see, and to be seen! Get bright and reflective clothing on to ensure you stay safe!

Run Wales Kit

SoleMate stocks the brand new range of Run Wales apparel, featuring vests, hoodies, T-Shirts, shorts and leggings! Be sure to check it out!

A Final word from us….
At Sole Mate, we’re always happy to chat through anything, even if you’re not coming into buy. Pop in for a chat about your running, training, nutrition or anything you ned advice on!

2 Morlais Buildings, Pontmorlais, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8UL


Telephone: 01685 673988


View More News Stories