I've never been much for running. I have (almost) always been in pretty good shape, with the last maybe 10 years being the exception. I smoked, I drank, and I spent most of my time glued to a chair in front of a computer.
That's all changing, though.
When Maria and I moved back to Maine to consolidate and plan for the move west, we started going to the gym pretty often. I got up to biking 10 miles a day, alternating with a decent run/walk on the treadmill. Combined with our diet, I lost weight and got back some of the muscle I'd lost being so sedentary.
Once we moved to Seattle, I wanted to start running proper, and I can say one thing: it's not the same as a treadmill!
I've been doing a mix of running and walking since then, and trying to beef up how much of the time I spend running. An issue for me, I think, is that I don't breathe right when I'm running, it's something I have to work on. Overall though, I think I've come a long way; I ran a mile in 10:40 yesterday evening around Green Lake, which is a new record for me. When I was in high school I'm sure I could have beaten that (I think I did the mile in way under 10), but I'm an old out of shape man now and pretty impressed.
I attribute some of the success for that mile run on the shoes I use.
Maria got me into a pair of Vibram 5 Finger shoes a couple years ago, and I've never looked back. We picked up some new pairs last weekend, and I'm completely in love with them.
I tended to run on my toes anyways so it wasn't a huge transition for me, but if you're a heel strike person that wants to get into barefoot running, go slowly. You have to retrain yourself on how to do it right, and you can really hurt yourself if you aren't careful.
I'd advise you go visit the folks at http://www.borntorun.com/ for some training and knowledge. Many of the employees are cross-fit/barefoot running trainers, and they all seemed really nice and genuinely interested in helping. They sponsor all sorts of classes and bare running fun.
Check it out.