“What types of surfaces are you all running on? How do you protect your knees?” - @austinmshauri - The lake trail where I do my 5k runs is about half pavement / half hardpack dirt with a bit of gravel. It’s in CO, so the dirt part is almost always dry and sometimes very hard.
When I started in 2017, I skewed my running to the dirt section as much as possible to make things easier on my newbie runner knees. Still in the beginning sometimes my knees had small pains - not enough to be annoying, but it was a concern. I actually bought a new, not pricey pair of sneakers that allowed extra thick socks. After a few months, my two kids gave me Mother’s Day money to buy a pair of good pair running shoes… they joked one shoe from each of them. I joked back that a running bra would have been a cheaper way to split a left/right gift.
I am really leery of injury, and I always erred toward cation. Once in a while I do get a left knee pain (which moves around to different places, so probably muscular?). I take a few extra days off. Oh, and mostly I avoid running 2 days in a row to minimize impact to my aging body.
Note - My “running” speed if fairly slow, very weather dependent. Although I try to improve my time, the main goal is to just DO IT. No matter how slow (even if walking) I figure “it’s better that sitting on the couch eating cheetos”. (I actually don’t eat cheetos, but it’s a phrase I once heard and like).