A training programme must be progressive to be effective, otherwise an athlete will plateau, as he/she becomes accustomed to the work load. With a progressive, logical and methodical approach.
For a coach to build a running schedule, they first need to know your current fitness, a time for a 5km parkrun or 10km. A programme can then be built around this information, without a current time, it is impossible to start building a programme, as all paces set for training sessions are based upon this data.
All programmes are build around a Multi Tiered system of training, as this is the system used by Elite athletes. The system involves varied paced sessions over their training cycle, which is typically 10 to 14 days.
At the heart of this system of training there are:
Two sessions at shorter distance but faster than race pace
One session at race pace
Two sessions at longer distance but slower than race pace.
All we need to start is a current time from the athlete and the distance at which the athlete is competing, from this we may calculate the paces needed for the various session.