That ain’t no woman! It’s a man, man!
A word to the unwise, volume and intensity are not mutually exclusive. Unless you’re the coach of a stable of elite Chinese women distance runners consuming copious amounts of caterpillar fungus or the coach of hulking Eastern Bloc women, you can forget about handling high volumes AND high intensities for any extended period of time and getting away with it. As an athlete and as a coach, I’ve tried….and in all cases eventually failed to get the desired results when intensity and volume are both concurrently high.
What does this mean, it means that we need to make a choice. Do we focus on intensity or volume? As a coach who works primarily with speed-power athletes from a variety of sports, the answer is undeniably INTENSITY. For endurance based activities, the opposite is obviously true. The important thing is finding the appropriate balance between these two variables that will produce the greatest adaptation while eliminating overtraining and undue fatigue.
The easiest way to think of this is in terms of the effect of different types of hammers on a rock. Lower intensity work is like a ball pien hammer. High intensity work is like a sledge hammer. You can hit a rock repeatedly with a ball pien hammer before it breaks. If you take the sledge hammer though, the hits come heavier, and you can probably only strike the rock one or two times before the thing cracks.
Moral of the story: don’t get greedy. Recognize what’s most important to the success of your event and pick the right hammer.