So, it’s Black Friday, and you’ve got a pile of new films to watch. Well, given it’s the weekend, you’ve only got one solution – a marathon.

Go, go, go!Most people don’t do marathons, because they’re responsible, mature adults. I say through that out the window, and set yourself up for an overnight extravaganza of caffeine, junk food and as much cinema and/or television as you can cram into a single evening. For example, a friend and I are going to be going through the entire Extended Edition of the Lord of the Rings on Blu-Ray this evening.

Not sure how to optimise your marathon? Well, speaking as someone who spends lots of time in front of various screens, both working and watching, I can offer a lot of advice on how best to make your marathon work. I’ve split everything up into sections so it’s easy to follow and you can get to work as soon as possible.

Nourishment

You may think otherwise, but if you’re going to sit through literally half a day of cinema, or even more, then you’re going to need to make sure your body isn’t going to respond to your sedentary event by simply falling asleep. No one wants to try and marathon something only to spend a chunk of it unconscious, so it’s best to select things you’re going to eat to keep yourself away.

Different things work for different people. Personally I find either caffeine throughout the night, ditto sugar, or an absence of both for a few days beforehand can up your energy levels. If you don’t want to do the prep work, then high-caffeine stuff. But be responsible! If you are genuinely trying not to wreck a diet, marathon food does contain alternatives. High-protein foods like chicken (no, not KFC) or bananas are good, but remember that too much of these foods can be heavy and will tire you out. Also, consider choosing food that requires a lot of chewing, as the act of chewing can keep you awake.

Environment

Now, if you’re marathoning something, you’re going to want to be comfortable. If you’re not too worried about people being asleep or awake, then I’d say turn the lights down to let people better focus on the screen, especially as it gets later into the evening. But if you’re aiming to stay awake, make sure the room is well lit and people are comfortable but not simply so squished into a comfortable pillow that they’re going to pass out. Hell, I’ve found even cinema seats can feel like ideal sleeping territory if you get tired enough.

It’s also worth considering space. Let people spread out and ensure everyone’s got somewhere comfortable to be. Make food and drink accessible, ditto the toilets and bathrooms. Regular breaks are important, and even if it’s just half an hour every two or three hours for people to perhaps take a shower, get something proper to eat or just take a brief nap, it’s worth it. Don’t hurt yourself.

Entertainment choices

Ooh, boy, this is where things get REALLY EXCITING. So, you’ve got your food and the place all set up and ready to go. But what do you watch? Well, your options are as follows:

1) A TV series.
2) A film franchise – trilogy or longer.
3) Films set to a theme – horror, comedies etc.
4) Show ‘n’ tell.

Now, the first three are fairly self-explanatory, but the fourth is an idea that you may not have thought of that could actually end up being really enjoyable. If you’ve got a group of people going, or even just you and a friend, then you can have people take their favourites along and show them to folks who haven’t seen them. You might be risking a few duffers, which is awkward when it’s someone else’s favourite film, but you might also come out of it having seen a load of stuff you could’ve otherwise missed.

Common sense

Now, while this is all very exciting, exercise good judgement. The best thing to do is simply have everyone book the weekend off and marathon over a few days. One night may end up with everyone trying to cram things in, followed by an extremely rough recovery over the rest of the weekend.

Make sure you’re staying well fed and not too wired on junk food that you’re seeing things that aren’t on the screen, and remember to choose things to watch that you’re all incredibly huge fans of, as it’s a lot easier to stay up if you love what you’re seeing. God speed, brave warriors.

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