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How Running And Music Intersect For RAC’s Liz Anjos

Being a speedy runner and talented musician are two inseparable aspects of RAC's Liz Anjos.

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There are two sides to Liz Anjos when it comes to her passions and pursuits in life. The recording artist and songwriter from Portland, Ore., performs under the pop moniker Pink Feathers and moonlights as a keyboardist and vocalist with RAC, a popular electronic band fronted by her husband, André Anjos. She’s also a sub-3-hour marathoner who blogs about her running, dabbles in personal run coaching and is starting her own track club.

Although music and running appear to be separate interests, the two actually intersect for Anjos in many ways. She isn’t a musician who just happens to run occasionally, nor is she a runner who can simply play an instrument. She is 100 percent invested in both.

Finding Her Beat

“When I entered college, that’s when running and music almost collided for me,” recalls the 31-year-old, who had been on her high school track-and- fi eld team. “I was a piano major and I was a little worried on how timeconsuming that would be and about keeping up in school. So I ended up just not running at all.”

It wasn’t until her senior year of college that she missed running so much she asked the school’s coach if she could join the team. That was 2006. She hasn’t stopped running since and has gotten quite successful and serious about it—and her music.

Anjos ran her fastest marathon (2:59:22) at the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon only a week after being on tour with RAC. It’s hard to imagine when she finds the time to train between shows while being on the road every day, especially for a distance as demanding as the marathon. But Anjos doesn’t see it that way.

RELATED: Scientific Proof That Music And Running Are A Good Mix

Fine-Tuning On Tour

“I have found that it is possible to train well on tour, and I have done it before,” she says. “Even though we’re traveling all over the country and we’re in a new city every day, our day-to-day is still pretty routine. Most venues operate very similarly—opening at noon to load in equipment with sound check usually around 3 to 5 p.m.—in that sense it’s predictable.”

While on tour, Anjos says she usually wakes up around 9 a.m. in whatever new city she’s in and goes for a run. When training for the Philadelphia Marathon, she’d squeeze in 60-mile training weeks and a couple of 20-plus milers. With her late-night shows that means going to bed past midnight, waking up, running, performing and then repeating it all over again each day.

“It’s almost like I’m on this constant adrenaline [rush], not even from just running, but playing shows every night,” Anjos explains. “It’s like I’m getting in a little extra cardio workout every night.

“I know as runners, we try to fi nd that edge in our training, but I feel like in the same way when I’m on tour, I’m finding that edge too.”

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Stronger Sound

Anjos isn’t too worried about her training for the Nov. 5 New York City Marathon while also on tour in the weeks leading up to another major race. The North American tour with RAC is scheduled for shows throughout September and October along both coasts—and a few in Canada—to promote the July release of their new album, “Ego.”

However, she is taking more precautions and changing the way she trains ahead of New York City, due to her not-so-pleasant experience running the Chicago Marathon last year. In Chicago, Anjos’ entire right side started to throb with pain around mile 20. She had to stop at an aid station for some time before she could jog slowly to the finish. But the result left her with a minor knee injury and prevented her from running The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K in San Francisco a month later.

This time Anjos says she wants “to get really strong for New York” and that her “big focus this year is becoming a well-rounded athlete outside of running” to prevent another injury. So she’s started doing Pilates twice a week and has been incorporating more stability and strength work into her routine, including a core workout her fellow RAC band member Troupe Gammage put together and does a couple hours before every show.

Unlike Chicago, Anjos doesn’t have a time goal of beating her PR for New York. “I just want to get to that final 10K feeling like I have something left in the tank and feeling strong,” she says.

Encore Performances

Besides the New York City Marathon, the traveling musician has a few more running goals she’d like to accomplish.

“I’m training for New York City right now, but I think it would be fun to focus on some shorter and faster races in the beginning of 2018,” she says. “One race I’ve always wanted to do is the Carlsbad 5000. That one has been on my radar for a while.” She’s also considering the 5- or 10K next year at Rock ’n’ Roll New Orleans.

Being a musician, Anjos has always appreciated the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series events too. Her initial Rock ’n’ Roll was in 2011 in Las Vegas, where she ran the first nighttime half marathon at that event. She remembers standing right next to the stage at the start line and watching Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready play the national anthem “Jimi Hendrix–style.” She says, “That just set the tone for the night and it was a really great and surreal experience.”

She then ran the inaugural Rock ’n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon in 2012. “Rock ’n’ Roll Portland went through a lot of very iconic Portland neighborhoods, and you really got to see Portland as a whole with that race,” she recalls of the race’s course.

RELATED: What It’s Like To Be The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Band Booker

Booking New Gigs

These days Anjos is excited about her recent appointment as the assistant coach for cross-country at Mountainside High School in Beaverton, Ore., and the track club she started in Portland called Rose City Track Club.

“There are a lot of competitive runners in Portland that aren’t necessarily running at the elite level but just want to get the best out of themselves,” says Anjos on why she started the club. “It’s been a dream project in the making for a little while now.”

Whether it’s releasing a new album, training for a major marathon between shows or starting a new running project, what’s obvious is how running and music motivate Anjos to be her best and most creative self.

She says, “I always feel better on days that I run than when I don’t.”

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TUNE IN: Liz Anjos’ Power Mantra Playlist

Although Anjos says she doesn’t listen to music while she’s running, because it’s her time to feel unplugged, when she’s getting ready for a race, she’ll zero in on a specific song or lyric to get in her head. She uses the song as a motivator or mantra. Tune into her picks for the best song mantras on the run!

  1. “Green Light” by Lorde
  2. “Do It Again” by Röyksopp & Robyn
  3. “Destroy Everything You Touch” by Ladytron
  4. “Nobody ft. Chaos Chaos” by RAC
  5. “Closer” by Tegan & Sara
  6. “Welcome to New York” by Taylor Swift
  7. “Radio War (Karl Kling Remix)” by Pink Feathers
  8. “Now That You Got It” by Gwen Stefani
  9. “Running Behind” by Holychild
  10. “Don’t Panic” by Ellie Goulding
  11. “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  12. “A-Yo” by Lady Gaga


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