October 2016

Warm Up: Making Readathon Work Around the World

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.

  1. 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.
  1. Have a lie in. Easier said than done, I know. Readathon is exciting and I am usually awake at 8am (T minus 5 hours).
  1. 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!
  1. 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!
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

8 thoughts on “Warm Up: Making Readathon Work Around the World”

  1. I usually get up at 6am as well, but I’m going for another experience this time and will be setting my alarm for 5 (or maybe even 4) am. I’m in Denmark, so that would be hour 16 (or 15). I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to go to bed early, I’m no longer a night owl πŸ™‚ So I’ll do the opposite of you; get up early on Saturday and head to bed early as well πŸ˜›
    To each his own though, right?
    I love the first hour or two, those are just magical! And the last hour as well… πŸ˜€

  2. Really interesting post! I hadn’t thought much about how different the experience would be, starting in the early afternoon like you, or 5:30 p.m. (New Delhi) or 11:00 p.m. (Sydney). It would be fascinating to see a list of all the different places we are reading from. I know the introductory memes ask that question, so I might look at them and compile a list – although I probably won’t do it until after the Readthon :).

    My start time is 6:00 a.m, and I usually end up sleeping from about 2:00 to 5:00 a.m, then getting up for the last hour.

  3. I thought it would be a 24 hour all Saturday for everyone until I saw them mentioning dates and it is more fun to all be reading at the same time, makes sense as well. My time starts at 7 am and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get up by then on Saturday, is the only day I get to sleep in.
    You sure make a great weekend out of this readathon. So much fun, I should prepare even more in advance for next time.

  4. I have been so focused on myself and whining about how early this is in California, I hadn’t realized the challenge of others whose starting time is so much later. So thank you for putting this in perspective for me!

    Last April was my first readathon and I decided I just could not start at 5am PST, so I started at 8am convincing myself it would be like EST and I’ll just read 3 hours later. But when I awoke I felt I missed the true spirit of the thing by not starting with everyone else (not judging here, only thoughts about myself!). This time I am getting up to start at the start time….yikes!

  5. @Irene Definitely do whatever works for you. I’m not much of a night owl either but I like to read as long as possible and if I’m up too early I end up wanting a nap about hour 9.

    @Sherry Ann I have no idea how the Australians manage it!

    @Laurie Yeah, I think there’s something really special about the big start with everyone else.

  6. I’m fascinated by the way the Readathon plays out on such a different schedule from East Coast time. All of your tips make complete sense. Especially what you say about the pre-event anticipation of an afternoon start.
    Cheers from the Morning Crowd! ‘ll raise my coffee and my book to you when we get started!

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