When someone learns to swim, they don't usually jump into the deep end and figure things out for themselves. In order to swim, a person has to learn the proper technique and start slowly. A person has to learn to move efficiently through the water, rather than fighting against it. The same principles apply to running as well.
Most new runners start out running as fast as they can until their lungs burn and muscles ache. I used to think that was running. The problem with that approach is most people don't stick with running long enough to become good at it. Like with most things in life, you never really learn to enjoy an activity until you have attained a certain level of mastery.
In order to enjoy running, a 'new' runner needs to start with the proper training. As a rule of thumb, a new runner should be able to recite "The Pledge of Allegiance" while they are running. Many times that means they have to slow down, even walk if necessary. That's alright! All runners start out that way. Run your own race and don't compare yourself to others. There is no speed that you have to run at in order to be a runner. With consistent practice, your lungs and body will began to adapt and soon you will become naturally become faster while maintaining that same comfortable pace. In most marathon training programs, runners spend 80% of training miles at a comfortable pace. If you run all your miles 'hard,' until you are huffing and puffing, you will get injured more easily. Getting hurt is not the point of running. I think that is why people usually say running is bad for their knees. It certainly is bad for your knees if you are running too fast and using the wrong form.
All new runners are welcome to join the Skid Row Running Club. We want to make sure that runners get off on the right foot and learn to enjoy running they way we do. We will teach you all the necessary steps so you don't just jump into the "deep end."