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Your Comprehensive Guide to Continued THON Survival

Congratulations, THONers: You’ve made it to Hour 14. Hopefully y’all are still wide awake, energetic, and dancing.

Keep in mind, though, that we’re in the first leg of the marathon and still have the bulk of THON to go. If you’re planning on staying for all 46 — or at least for a substantial part of all 46 — you’re going to want to budget your energy accordingly. To help you with this task, we here at Onward State have compiled a brief list of tips and tricks to keep your energy levels up for as long as possible.

1. Eat and hydrate regularly!

“Make sure you’re taking care of yourself because there’s no one who’s responsible for looking out for you. There’s one year that I didn’t eat for 10 hours and I got really cranky and I was no help to anyone. I had to go home and sleep — it was a mess.

“Keep active tabs on when you’re eating. If you notice that a dancer has had two meals and you haven’t eaten yet, you NEED to eat. I would just recommend even having just a buddy in the stands to go get your meals with or you go get water with and making sure your water bottle is always full.”

– Meg Barnett, Class of ’12; Dancer for Springfield FTK, THON 2012

This one’s pretty self explanatory. It’s very, very easy to lose track of time at THON but remember to eat and hydrate — you’re not going to survive for very long at all otherwise.

We know that the BJC concessions are rather outrageously priced but your good health is worth a lot more than a few dollars markup. Besides, you can pay with your parents’ money with meal points.

2. Eat right — stick with healthy foods; avoid fatty ones.

“Try to watch what you eat — try to eat the more healthy stuff that’s in the BJC. Nothing fattening, it’ll make you tired. I would try to stick with the Subway or the fruit that they have here.”

– Rebecca Johnson, Senior; Chair for Penn State Fayette

Food that is good for you will give you more energy. When you’re taking your regular meal breaks (as per Tip #1), look out for the healthier food options. Go for whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Avoid greasy foods like chicken tenders and fried foods.

3. When resting between shifts at the BJC, elevate your feet!

“When you go home to rest in between shifts at the BJC, remember to elevate your feet! Prop them up on a pillow above the level of your heart while you lay down. That way, the blood won’t pool in your legs and feet and you can prevent swelling and soreness.”

– Olivia Kerrigan; Sophomore: FR Chair for ΚΚΓ

We went to Onward State contributor and THON Survival in-house counsel Olivia Kerrigan for advice on this one. Should you choose to sleep at any point during THON, you should prop your feet up above the level of your heart to prevent swelling and soreness. Don’t make standing in the stands any more painful that it has to be.

4. Stretch! Move around, do the Line Dance, take a lap of the BJC.

“I would say definitely take every opportunity you can to stretch, whether it’s during the Line Dance or going out and taking a lap of the BJC — just getting your body moving a little bit is huge.”

– Kevin Cass, Sophomore; Alt. Fundraising Captain for Atlas

Like any coach or fitness instructor will tell you, you have to stretch. The Line Dance, while fun and re-energizing, is designed for that purpose, so follow along whenever the Morale Captains come up to the stage.

Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to leave your spot in the stands and just walk around for a bit. We know that you don’t want to miss out on any of the THON shenanigans but moving around for a bit every once in a while will help you maximize your time here at the BJC.

5. Interact with the environment around you. Meet some of your fellow THONers!

“Involve yourself in the environment. If you’re just standing and purely standing, you’re not going to survive. But if you are outgoing and participate then [THON] will be like a blink of an eye.”

– Natalie Fischer, Sophomore; Moraler

This tip is more about the mental aspect of surviving all 46 hours. Trust us, you’re going to go crazy if you’re just standing in place doing nothing.

There isn’t a single moment of THON where there isn’t something going on. If you’re in the stands, walk around and meet some people from different orgs. If you’re on the floor, chat with some dancers you don’t know or hang out with a THON family. Immerse yourself in the THON environment and, as Natalie said, the hours will go by in a blink of an eye.

Got any tips on how to survive all 46 hours? Let us know in the comment section below.

About the Author

Bobby Chen

Writer and photographer, helping tell the many stories of the Penn State community.

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