With nearly 40,000 registered runners, the 2019 Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon is one of the largest running events in the country. While it might seem easy for competitive athletes to get to this point, it is not always a walk (or run) in the park. We sat down with world champion triathlete, family-oriented mom and past Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas runner Mirinda ‘Rinny’ Carfrae to learn how she prepares for races, and what tips she has for this year’s participants!

Q: You maintain an incredible athletic career while managing quality time with your family. How can runners balance training with their personal lives?

MC: You just begin to make time for what matters and suddenly all the other things you used to do in your spare time before take a backseat. Before we had our daughter Izzy, my husband, Tim, and I used to finish training, and then binge watch our favorite television show before going to sleep. Now we finish training, have dinner, and spend all our time with Izzy until her bedtime.

To runners looking for balance, I recommend you make time for yourself and the training that you need, in addition to family time. However, as many moms know, it’s not always that easy to separate the two. Simple things like timing your pre-and post-workout meals with your children’s eating schedule can make a big difference. If you’re short on time and need to fit in a quick run, I recommend bringing your younger kids with you in a jogger stroller. Personally, I’ll even incorporate Izzy into my training sessions. It’s way more fun!

Q: With your busy schedule, how do you find time to recover properly as part of your training program?

MC: Make it a priority! The more I recover, the better I train. Whoever has more quality training sessions throughout the week, generally, is the better athlete at the finish line.

On top of stretching properly and resting between workouts, nutrition is critical. I love easy-to-digest foods that taste good and are simple enough to eat on the go. Chocolate milk is my personal go-to because it has the nutrients I need to refuel my muscles, plus it replenishes what I’ve lost in sweat during my toughest workouts. It definitely helps me give my all during my next training session.

Q: What tips do you recommend to people juggling busy schedules, but considering signing up to compete in their first marathon?

MC: Signing up for that first race can be intimidating, especially if you’re busy. But once you do, you will not regret it! I recommend creating a routine for yourself to be certain that you consistently hit your training needs. Whether it’s working out early in the morning or late at night after work, figure out what is best for you, and stick with it. I also recommend that first-time marathoners find a running buddy. This could be a family member, a friend or even someone new! My husband and I are always pushing each other to be better, and we have fun doing it. It truly helps to have someone to enjoy the journey with.

Q: What should runners do right after finishing the race?

MC: Celebrate! But, don’t forget to give your body the nutrients and TLC it needs to recover. I recommend adding in an official recovery program. Choose a to-go recovery drink that you can easily chug after your workout as it’s important to replenish lost nutrients about 30-45 minutes after an intense exercise. I recommend runners try chocolate milk. It is an easy, effective way to take in carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes post-race.

It will be passed out at the finish line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas marathon, so if any of this year’s runners haven’t tried it yet, they can there!

Q: Tell us the most rewarding part of being an endurance athlete.

MC: Outside of training or racing, the amount of time I can spend in my pajamas between workouts is pretty nice! But, in all seriousness, the most rewarding thing is that I am not just racing for myself or just to secure titles anymore. I am racing for my daughter and my husband. There is nothing I love more than to cross the finish line and see their smiling, proud faces. Izzy is cheering and happy. Those moments make the tough training worth it.

Q: Tell us the most fun part about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas race and what makes it different from all the others?

MC: Vegas is one of the bigger running races, and being in such a fun city, the energy of all the runners is always so high and pumped. It’s also a night race, which is so different from other races I compete in. I wore the BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK glow sticks, runners rock glow-in-the-dark racing gear when I ran, and the race course was lit up with fun lights and funky signage. Everything is just more fun! I encourage every runner participating this year to just live in the moment.