The impact of running is hard on the body, and it can take a while for leg muscles and tendons to adapt to this impact.
I agree strongly with the recommendation that a Couch to 5K program is the best way into running.
Once you are running 5K, then convert this into a 10K, and then from there start aiming at a half marathon. coolrunning.com has some great training plans. Throughout this you should be running no more than 3 times per week - the rest days allow your muscles to recover from the impact and get stronger.
The other thing is to build up a solid walking base first - but as a regular hiker, hopefully you are there already.
6 months is probably the minimum to train for a half marathon - and depending on how fast your body adapts to the impact, you may not quite get there. But if you get to 15K in 6 months, you can probably handle a half with a few intervals of walking.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
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