You might associate Readathon with getting up in the middle of the night or setting your alarm super early to start reading but for those of us joining from Europe, we’re starting in the afternoon. That means completing the full Readathon really means being awake for more than 24 hours, unless your superpower is being able to sleep and wake at precise and convenient times!
Whilst a huge part of the fun is the fact we all start at the same time (I am never more aware of time zones than Readathon weekends) I do know a few Europeans who bend the rules a little. Some start as soon as they wake up, fitting in a few hours before the official start. I personally start at 1pm UK time with everyone else but I do always have a sleep when reading becomes impossible. I know I can always carry on reading after the official end if I really want to get that 24 hours in.
A lot of the advice you’ll read is good practice for all, but there are some things you may want to do differently with a PM start.
- Don’t have an “early night”. I mean, don’t go out partying the night before (been there, done that, bad idea) but try and stay up a little past your normal bedtime. This will help with tip 2.
- Have a lie in. Easier said than done, I know. Readathon is exciting and I am usually awake at 8am (T minus 5 hours).
- Have a nutritious lunch. You’ll have time to eat something before you start reading. If you’re not used to big lunches, don’t overdo it as you might fall into a food coma, but it’s good to start off feeling fueled. If all you eat is snacks the rest of the day, at least you’ve had some nutrients!
- Use the morning for preparation. It’s a great way to get into the Readathon mood. Take some photos, get your update post format ready, make nice TBR piles for you to ignore later. Check out other participants and chat on Twitter using the hashtag; the pre-event buzz is something I think the US participants miss out on a bit what with being asleep. Wish people good luck!
- Set an alarm for Sunday morning. Yes, Sunday not Saturday. With the best will in the world, most of us will fall asleep on our books and plenty of people schedule in a planned sleep. I usually set an alarm for 6am (which is hour 18 in the UK) so I can carry on reading up until the end. This is your secret weapon. We get congratulated for being there at the end but we’ve all had a nice little snooze in the middle.
- Cheer those final hours! If you’ve given up reading by Sunday PM, it’s really nice to spend some time leaving words of encouragement to those who have been slogging it out the whole time. It *will* be appreciated.
Got work or school on Monday morning? While we see hordes of readathoners heading to bed after the final hour, an afternoon nap just doesn’t work for me. I try and stay up till at least 9pm otherwise I’ll be socially “jetlagged” for a few days. If the weather’s good, it’s a great time to get some fresh air and stretch those legs. Readathon is really a whole weekend event for our time zones, but that makes it even better!
Our new puppy has had me in Readathon training mode for a few weeks now! I’m much more used to broken sleep and I’m sure she’ll be excited that for once I’m happy to hang out with her at 6am. Actually, I bet I won’t need that alarm this year…
Thank you SO much, Ellie, for your advice! Visit Curiosity Killed the Bookworm.