EAT UP: Fuel your Bridge Run - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

EAT UP: Fuel your Bridge Run

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© Picture provided: Laura Harris (WCIV) © Picture provided: Laura Harris (WCIV)


By Laura Harris

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- You've trained, broken in the running shoes and got the playlist on your iPod ready, so what's left to get prepared for this year's Cooper River Bridge Run? 

According to one expert, the most important part of getting ready is probably your pre-race meal. It could make or break your 10K run, especially when it comes to new runners.

Registered dietician with Trident Medical Center and marathon runner, Catherine Grych, says this is NOT a "one-day" kind of prep.  You have to really prepare your mind and your body for a six mile race.

"The week leading up to the race, participants need to taper down their exercise and increase their carbohydrate intake," says Grych.  "Eating more carbohydrates helps to increase energy stores in the muscle."

Did you know that 55 to 65 percent of your calories should be from carb sources the week before the run?  Grych says healthy complex carbs like whole grain pasta and bread, rice, potatoes, corn, beans and fruit are good choices and surprisingly, desserts count too!

"Desserts do count, but try to keep the calories from sweets limited.  Excess can lead to unwanted weight gain, no matter how much you run!"

Are you someone who eats gluten free?  Well that doesn't mean that you have to miss out on the necessary fuel to make sure you have the race of your life, according to Grych.

"Gluten-free athletes can enjoy rice, potatoes, corn, a grain called quinoa, beans and legumes to get their carbohydrates in before the race."  Grych explains that there is no reason why a gluten free diet should keep you from fueling properly and as a matter of fact, if you fail to do so, you are setting yourself up for a failure.

But no matter if you eat gluten-free, if you like to keep the sugar at a minimum, you're an avid runner or a novice, hydrating is one of the most important things that you can do before the race, especially a 10K that is so rigorous.  Running that bridge may seem intimidating now for someone who hasn't done it, but if you don't adequately prepare, it could be even worse than you could have ever imagined!  Good old H20 can ensure your run is up to par.

"Water is fine the night before the race.  Many sports drinks contain lots of added sugar, which isn't necessary unless you need energy during a very long event," explains Grych.  "Opting for a low calorie sports drink is a good way to replace electrolytes lost during an event without the extra calories."

So, you know exactly what to put into your body the day before, according to a registered dietician, but now onto what's NOT hot!  Grych says it is so important to avoid certain foods before you pound the pavement.  Not listening to the following warnings could end your run early!

"Avoid eating foods you're not accustomed to the night before a race, just in case the food doesn't agree with you.  It may also be a good idea to limit fatty, fried foods or foods high in fiber," says Grych.  "The main thing is just to make sure you eat a little something the morning of the race.  Eating an hour before the race gives your food time to digest so your body can use the energy and you aren't too full."

She suggests a light breakfast such as a banana with peanut butter toast, fruit and yogurt, or cereal bars are all easy choices.  She adds that having a four ounce glass of juice is another way to boost your carbohydrate intake before the big run.

Below are two great recipes you can use the week of the race that are sure to fuel and satisfy any runner or walker, both courtesy of Chef Kimberly Brock Brown, executive chef at Trident Medical Center.

Curried Sesame Tofu with Rice & Veggies

1 lb brown rice
1 lb Tofu, Firm Sliced ½"
½ C  All Purpose Flour
5 oz Sesame Seeds
1 T Curry Powder
1 t Cumin
1 t Tumeric
Pinch  Cayenne Pepper
3 oz Soy Sauce
8 oz Sesame Oil
12 oz Snow Peas
12 oz Red Peppers Julienne

Cut tofu in diagonals for triangles and drain excess moisture, marinate in soy sauce for 15min or longer.

Prepare Brown Rice according to package.

Combine sesame seeds, all spices with flour and evenly coat the tofu.

Steam snow peas & peppers until tender.

Sauté in hot sesame oil until golden the tofu.

Serve ½ cup of rice with 3 triangles of tofu on top of veggies


Wild Mushroom Polenta

16 oz Milk
8 oz Half & half
1 oz Butter
1 t Garlic chopped
6 oz Yellow Cornmeal
3 oz Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 oz Butter

Sauté garlic in the 1st butter until lightly browned.

Add milk and half & half and bring to a simmer.

Whisking constantly slowly add cornmeal. Cook until the meal pulls away from the sides.

Stir in Cheese and last butter


16 oz Veggie Stock
2 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Garlic chopped
8 oz Cremini Mushrooms Quartered
8 oz Oyster Mushrooms Chopped
8 oz Portobello Mushrooms Julienned
6 oz Onions Diced small
3 oz Balsamic Vinegar
2 t Thyme1t Salt
2 t Black Pepper

Heat Wok or Sauté pan, add oil, garlic mushrooms and onions. Cook on high for 1 min.

Add veggie stock and cook until reduced by half.

Add balsamic and cook until reduced by half.

Add seasonings and stir to combine.

Spoon over warm Polenta for service


Finally, the recipe for the picture above:


Chicken/Feta/SunDried Tomato over Whole Wheat Pasta


3 large chicken breasts
3 cups spinach
1 cup olives
½ cup sun dried tomatoes
4 tbs olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup feta crumbles
2 cups whole wheat angel hair pasta
Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Mix chopped olives, garlic, olive oil, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese in a large bowl.

Coat chicken breast with olive oil, salt and pepper with a dash of Italian seasoning

Cut a large pocket in the fat side of the chicken breast and stuff feta mixture into the pocket.

Place stuffed chicken on large baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until juices run clear.

While chicken is baking, sauté spinach in a pan with left over feta mixture.

Boil noodles until al dente

Plate noodles, then sautéed veggies and place cooked chicken on top.


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