To Treadmill or Not to Treadmill?

Ice, deep snow and sub zero temperatures are driving many endurance athletes indoors to the treadmill this winter. Unfortunately, running a long distance on the treadmill may do more harm than good especially if used as a short term substitute to overground running without adjusting for the fact that it is a different surface. In this article, Coach Amy explains why runners should exercise caution when choosing the treadmill and shares tips on how to treadmill safely.


The way our joints and muscles respond to running is different on different surfaces such as grass, mud, rock, sand or rubber track. There is not yet a consensus among researchers as to the differences between overground running v.s. treadmill running, however many sound studies show a significant difference in the forces or load on certain muscles and joints when comparing the two surfaces. Riley, P. “A Kinematics and Kinetic Comparison of Overground and Treadmill Running.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2008.

Because of these differences, runners could sustain injury if they try to run too long or far on a surface that is new to them. I see injuries in the clinic every winter when non-treadmill runners jump on a treadmill to “get in a long run.”

So what is an endurance athlete in the winter supposed to do when a 20-mile long run is on the training schedule but it’s icy and -10 degrees outside? I recommend splitting up the mileage (or time) amongst several different options. For example, alternate running 30 min on the treadmill, 30 min. on an indoor track and 30 min of elliptical. Repeat if necessary. This will break up the monotony and give the chance for muscles to adapt and recover from the varying loads/stresses of the different surfaces.

To prevent injury from running on a treadmill follow these tips from Coach Amy:

  • Keep at least 1-2% incline to account for lack of wind

  • Vary the incline throughout the run to spread out the load to a variety of muscles as you would with the natural grade of a road run.

  • Start with a short distance/time e.g. (20-30 min)

  • Vary the speed of the belt throughout the run rather than staying at the same speed (helps prevent changes to gait with fatigue)

  • Make sure the belt is in good working order (stiff, not loose)

Need for Speed

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Improve race pace, feel stronger crossing the finish line, and prevent injury with your run buddies! RRKC’s 6-week Winter speed work session starts on February, 12th.  Sessions are held at various outdoor parks on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m.  New location this round at the paved trails at Somerset and Nall! Space is limited, so act fast to run fast!

NOTICE: Future Announcements re. Last Minute Run Changes


Just a reminder that all updates and announcements regarding last minute changes (less than 24 hours) to location, start times, cancellations ETC will be no longer be posted on the blog or sent in email. You can check on the status of runs in several places:

RRKC Facebook Page

RRKC Website:

  • Events page for details

  • Announcement bar at the top of the site for brief last minute updates

RRKC January 12th Group Run Cancelled

With much deliberation and regret , we are cancelling our group run. Driving conditions for volunteers and runners are too dangerous and not worth the risk. Running in a few inches of snow can be safe and fun as long as you have trail shoes or yak trax to help provide traction. Consider running a short period of time (vs miles) and turn back if you encounter ice. Our swap meet will move to next week’s group run. See you all then!

How do you make 2019 your BEST endurance performance ever?


Coach Amy says, “It’s all about training smart. One of the chief contributors is when athletes assume that simply running, biking or swimming means they are strong enough to do so. It’s a hallmark mistake. Endurance sports require consistency and volume but in order to do it efficiently and avoid injury, strengthening specifically for sport is a must.”

CoachAmyPT offers sport specific strengthening classes for endurance athletes throughout the year. Staring in 2019: Phoenix Rising on Monday nights and Phoenix Core on Thursday nights.

Registration for Rising opens Dec. 7 and registration for Core opens on Dec. 10th by clicking on the links above. Spots are limited, first come first serve!

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Dress UP and Embrace the Cold!


It’s freaking cold out! It’s tempting to run indoors on the treadmill this time of year, but Coach Amy recommends running outdoors unless conditions are icy or the “feels like” effective temperature is below 0 degrees taking into account the windchill. Dressing properly makes running outdoors in the winter safer and more tolerable. The key is to layer. Here are some recommendations:

  • fleece lined running tights (or layer two pair)

  • wool socks

  • Hot Hands packets

  • run vest over long sleeve top and wind and water resistant jacket

  • fleece headband or cap 

  • neck gaiter

  • gloves with mitten cover that is wind and water resistant 

  • balaclava 

The first mile in really cold temps is tough, but if you are dressed properly you will feel much better once you’ve warmed up. Embrace the cold people. You CAN do it!

Run Lit Reminder!


"We runners try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup…I planned out our whole run: First, we'll decorate ourselves in Christmas lights, then we’ll run around the plaza for 3 miles, and then we'll drink hot cocoa (maybe with schnapps), and then we'll eat a dinner, and then to finish, we'll sing Christmas carols."

We can’t wait to celebrate the holidays running around the plaza with our run buddies Friday night. Details about Run Lit HERE. Right now the weather looks great - about 41 degrees! Remember your lights! You can find short strings of battery operated lights at hardware stores.

Run THIS Saturday

Coach A at Silver Falls Trail Marathon Finish.

Coach A at Silver Falls Trail Marathon Finish.

Heads up peeps! We made a change to this week’s map, so if you’ve already downloaded it, please go to Events and get the new one. Coach A is taking a break from group runs for a few weeks to recoup and spend some time with family. You are in excellent hands with Ms. JJ. See you all at Run Lit on the 30th. Be there or be…SQUARE!

What to do in November and December?


Coach Amy says, “Recover, recover, recover from your fall races over the next few weeks! Respect the running gods and allow yourself to heal from microtearing, a knocked out immune system and nasty free radicals that are circulating from your race. Not taking the time to adequately recover can lead to an injury that sneaks up on you later. Active recovery is best as opposed to laying on the couch eating pie.” Dry needling and ART can be helpful for sports performance and recovery. Spots are limited. Go here to schedule an appointment:

December is the time to gradually build your volume back so you are ready in January to start Spring training. Yes, you heard that right! To help you recover and build back up, join your friends on Saturdays in November and December. Registration for Saturday group runs in Nov. and Dec. is now OPEN.

Coach Amy has only a few spots remaining for personalized training plans Spring 2019. If you are interested, please email her at ASAP to get on the list - first come, first serve. Registration is OPEN. We will close when full. Please note, Coach Amy needs at least 2 weeks heads up to get started on your plan.

And of course, you must NOT miss our Run Lit fun run on Nov. 30th! No registration needed, just bring your lights, your friends and some holiday spirit!

Run Lit 2018 - Nov. 30th


Adorn yourself with christmas lights and run the plaza/Westport area with Roadrunners of Kansas City. Course distance is approx. 3 miles with a 2 mile stop at the Salvation Army Kettle for a group picture. Run is FREE. Pace is EASY. Meet at the Pennsylvania entrance of the Sun Fresh in Westport at 6:30 PM. Optional dinner out after the run! Go to Events for details on location start and a course map!

KC Marathon Race Group Picture

Meet at 6:30 AM in Washington Park by the Washington statue (Grand and Pershing) for an RRKC pre-race group pic. If there is not a family member available to take the pic, grab a bystander or take a group selfie!!! Here is a list of runners that we KNOW are running the race. If we’ve left anyone out, please forgive Coach Amy - it’s not personal, only a brain fart :) Just email if you are racing KC and not on this list. Thank you!!!

  • Janet

  • Melissa (First Half Marathon!)

  • Kathryn - FULL

  • Ethan

  • Brittany (First Half Marathon!)

  • Christina

  • Mo

  • Courtney

DRAT...lightning! Possible 11:00 AM Make Up run...

Sorry gang! Lightning began after it was time to make the call this morning. We apologize for dragging you out, just to send you home :(. I have it under good authority that there may be a break in the storms around 11:00 AM and some peeps are planning on coming out to run. Our volunteers have graciously agreed to leave their aid stations out today until 4:00 PM. If the weather DOES break and want to get in some miles, maps are in the tub at homebase. This is NOT an official run.There will NOT be a run lead present nor a sign in sheet. Use your best judgement on the weather. Run happy and safe today peeps :) - Coach A