Penn State's THON™ is only one month away, and I couldn't be more excited. Supporting the hundreds of dancers who stand for 46 hours in recognition of the fight against pediatric cancer is an enormous opportunity for us as students, and I take that to heart.
This year, my fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, is standing in support of our THON family and our two dancers. I'll also be volunteering throughout the weekend as part of a Hospitality Committee, better known as HOS. With both in mind, I'm hoping to stay awake and active at THON for as many hours as I can.
To do that, here are ten ways I'm starting to prepare now for that physical toll:
1. Loading up on Vitamin C
My HOS captains lovingly remind our committee to stay healthy at our weekly meetings, singing the praises of Emergen-C and oranges. Right now, I'm in love with Naked Juice's Power C Machine juice. It's packed with 1,270% of your daily value of Vitamin C (as opposed to Emergen-C's 1,000%), and the vitamin comes from pure fruit puree, not powdered drink mix. I'm drinking at least two a week to bolster my chances against catching a cold on campus.
2. Focusing on cardio endurance
At last year's THON, I was so physically exhausted by the Final Four hours. I hadn't been to the gym in months—and that's probably why. This THON, I've been more active all year, and now, I'm moving towards targeting my endurance. I keep reminding myself of my three goals: more running, more distance, and more gym visits overall.
3. Replacing coffee with tea
Something seniors and THON veterans might tell you—with pain in their eyes—is that coffee addicts can't survive THON. To be strong, energetic, and happy all weekend, you can't rely on coffee, and you absolutely can't be in the midst of caffeine withdrawal. I've cut out coffee for the last month leading up to THON, and I'll stop drinking tea in the last week. For now, decaffeinated chamomile, chai, and green tea are my low-caffeine favorites.
4. Getting ahead on schoolwork
This is huge! Who wants to be stressed about projects and papers due on THON Friday? I've put a to-do list on my desk with all my assignments the week before THON so I can happily de-stress for days. Plus, your GPA will thank you.
5. Making a habit of staying hydrated
You know how when you focus on your water intake for a while and you start to feel habitually thirstier, even though you're actually more hydrated? I can say with confidence that I'm not always as hydrated as I should be, but I absolutely need to be used to my water intake by THON weekend. If the Water Socials throughout the weekend aren't enough of a hint for you to stay hydrated, build that habit now!
6. Trying out foot yoga
You read that right. A dancer I knew recommended beginning a 30-day yoga program with an emphasis on foot strength. This is one prep strategy that I'm more apprehensive about, but I think the pain you feel after around 36 hours of standing at a time is too hard to ignore!
7. Cleaning up and prepping laundry
Here's something simple that'll make a world of difference THON weekend: clean your room, wash your sheets, and set out clothes for the weekend. When you get home, the last thing you'll want to see are dirty floors or a messy bed, and the last thing you'll want to do is dig through laundry while you could be sleeping. Your bed is going to be the only thing you want on your mind!
8. Stocking up on THON essentials
Buying a reusable plastic water bottle, baby powder, deodorant, and dry shampoo, among other things, can rack up a hefty bill at Walmart. You can get ahead by working a few things into your budget each week.
9. Calf raises. So. Many. Calf raises.
Do I even need to explain?
10. Fundraising and volunteering
This is the heart of preparing for THON. Standing for 46 means nothing without fundraising to offset costs for families affected by pediatric cancer. Standing for 46 wouldn't be possible without the 16,500 amazing volunteers who've spent the year working to build this event from the ground up.
No words can describe the magic of THON, and everything I'm doing now to prepare myself pales in comparison to the power of fundraising and volunteering FTK.