I've been running a pretty long time now, over eight years. What I remember starting out is that I didn't know much about running, other than basic info. Here's my crack at the top things new runners should know starting out.
1. Set a schedule. Running requires a certain amount of regimen. Pick a time when you do nearly all your runs. Eventually, it becomes like brushing your teeth: something (hopefully) you just do without thinking much about it.
2. Be flexible. This conflicts a bit with No. 1. One thing I've noticed is the tendency to get too rigid in training. Leave room for the spur-of-the-moment drink after work.
3. Run everywhere. Living in NYC, I'm surrounded by pavement. That's not so great for running. But with ingenuity, even runners here can do at least some of their mileage on softer surfaces. I run at least once a week on the trails in Riverside Park, and during warm months do some miles on the Bridle Path in Central Park. No matter what, mix up the surfaces. Your knees will thank you.
4. Get shoes from pros. Running isn't complicated. We're pretty much born to do it. (Check out Why We Run.) One thing, though: shoes matter. Visit a local running store like Super Runners to find out if you're a pronator, supinator, etc.
5. Invest in clothing. Buy wicking clothes and soak them after runs. They dry quickly and are ready for the next day. I go six-seven runs before the clothing needs to go into the laundry. No, I don't have rashes.
6. Stretch. Some don't buy into it; I do. Running makes you stiff and inflexible. Try out Active-Isolated Stretching. It's helped me.
6. Cross-train. I don't do this as much as I'd like. Try to mix in biking or swimming, pretty much anything low to no-impact. Bigger bonus if it's cardio or works on core strength.
7. Accept pain. Running hurts sometimes. There's no use denying it. But I always think, I'm not going to die or anything.
8. Learn what's an injury. There's a fine line between regular aches and pains and real injuries that require treatment. The key is if the pain changes the running stride. Otherwise, look to shoes, running surface or training schedule for why stuff hurts. You'll find your answer there 90 percent of the time.
9. Set a goal. It can be a 5k or running 20 miles in a week or a marathon. A goal helps people focus.
10. Never give up. Getting beyond your comfort zone is probably the greatest part of being a runner.