For running, you will see the best results from a consistent program, and shorter + more often is usually better than longer and less often.
To start, I would look at many of the couch to 5k programs, and use that until you can comfortably run a 5k. Once you get to that point, you can start a regular running program to get you to where you need to be for your fitness and/or competitive goals.
The program that I usually recommend is a 3:2:1 program. It's designed for running 6 times per week, with 3 short, 2 medium and one long run. So if you do your 5k, and it takes you 30 minutes, that establishes your long run. Your medium runs would be 20 minutes, and your short runs 10 minutes. (Med = 2x short, long = 3x short). Do that for a few weeks, then you can start increasing distances by increasing your times. So your short run would become 12 minutes, your medium becomes 24, and your long becomes 36 minutes.
I wouldn't recommend strict speedwork until you have 6 months or more of consistent mileage under your belt, but you can work pickups, fartleks or strides into some of your med/long runs.
You can keep increasing distance, or once you get to the point where you are happy with what you are seeing, you can just maintain. Pay attention to your body, if you start feeling fatigued and/or beat up, you can ease back or take a couple days off.
Also, if you are going to be running consistently and competing, I would recommend having 2-3 pairs of shoes, rotating among them consistently, and retiring them after 200-600 miles (It will depend on your weight, running style, gait, shoe construction, etc. If a run leaves you feeling beat up when it shouldn't, your shoes may be ready to be retired).
Running isn't mysterious. The biggest mistakes people make are doing speedwork too soon, ramping up distance too soon, and most people don't run easy enough on their easy days, and not hard enough on their hard days.