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Waking up to run on a Monday morning after a weekend away is never easy, and I’ve yet to figure out quite how to do so without fail. But, being a morning person, it’s somewhat imperative that I get my runs out of the way before going to work. Leaving it until afterward runs the risk that I’ll simply back out — and without too much regret at that. When it comes to evening workouts, I tend to be a bit of a grouch.

This past weekend in Fire Island was a ton of fun, but I knew I really needed to get myself back on track, both mentally and physically, as soon as I returned to the real world. Laying around on the beach is good fun and all, as it guzzling several bottles of wine and many beer pong rounds of cheap booze, but — most of the time — it’s no excuse to lay in bed for an extra hour on Monday morning, unless you truly need the recovery, that is.

Determined to run first thing on Monday morning after a weekend away? These are the 7 simple secrets I use to get myself up and out of bed, into a sports bra, and onto New York City’s pavement.

1. Go to bed early on Sunday. This doesn’t mean to go to bed at 11:30 if you’re a night owl. If you’re really looking to counteract the effects of an indulgent weekend away by waking up to run, you’re going to need some serious motivation. As many a party-goer knows, that first solid night of sleep after a rowdy weekend is crucial.

If you can, aim for 9:30 to get between 8 and 9 hours of sleep. Slip into bed sometime before this, and don’t turn on any light-emitting devices; iThings and TV’s make it nearly impossible to fall asleep if you’re not already exhausted (though I’ll admit that on Sunday, I was so pooped that I fell asleep with the Olympics on anyway).

One of the best ways to ensure that you get to bed on Sunday around the same time as the residents of Boca is to plan to return home from your trip sometime in the early afternoon. I know, this can be hard—especially when the sun’s a’shining and the beach is a’calling. But once you’re back in your apartment, you’ll feel so much better, and you’ll have ample time to get whatever it is you need to get done before dusk.

2. Set your alarm earlier than you usually would. As a self-proclaimed morning person, I can typically hop out of bed pretty quickly at the sound of my alarm. As the summer has worn on, however, I’ve found myself dreading that inevitable wake-up call, and a few times, that dread was wooed me so much that I’ve simply fallen back asleep.

To avoid this, I’ve begun to set my alarm for about 30 minutes earlier than I normally would to allow myself three snoozes in between. Gage whether you need 1, 2, 3 or 10 snoozes before you’re finally motivated to get up, and set your alarm for that much earlier.

3. Create weekly goals ahead of time. If you know the number of miles you want to log, reps you want to complete, yoga sequences you want to incorporate, you’ll be that much more likely to find the inspiration to get to it come Monday morning. I know a lot of people who set their weekly intentions on Monday, and if that works for you, then great. Go with it. For me though, I prefer to know how many miles I want to run over the course of the week in order to start slashing them off my to-do list. This week, it’s 30 miles. After Monday’s basic 5-miler through Central Park (ah, home sweet home), I’m already down to 25.

4. Be realistic. You didn’t merely spend a weekend away; you had to travel to and from your destination too — which can be equally exhausting too. It’s ok to be tired! It’s ok to want sleep. It’s ok to shorten your workout. The most important thing is that you listen to yourself. Don’t push it, and don’t plan anything crazy. Just figure out the best way to shake out the cobwebs, whether that’s a 5-mile, 3-mile, 1-mile run or simply stretching on a yoga mat for 20 minutes. Listen to your body, and be mindful of how that movement will ultimately make you feel for the rest of the day.

5. Stick to what you know. Don’t go aggressively mapping out an epic run in uncharted territory on a particularly slow, sleepy morning. Choose one of your favorite routes, put on your sneakers, and get to it.

For me, “what I know” is Central Park. After 2-plus years of running around the bottom loop day after day after day, I could do it in my sleep—which is especially good on a morning when I very well might be sleeping my way through the first couple of miles through New York City’s streets.

6. Start slow. There’s no reason to bolt out of your apartment first thing. Take it easy, and allow your body to wake up gradually. For me, I find that doing so enables me to shift my muscles into high gear after about 2 miles, while avoiding the dreaded should-I-turn-back-around-now feeling.

7. Cut yourself some slack. Skipped out on your run or workout routine? Tell yourself it’s not the end of the world. Remind yourself of this throughout the day. And if you’re still upset about it, then rest up during the day and consider taking a run at a different time than you otherwise would (lunchtime yoga, anyone?) to break up your routine while kick-starting your weekly wellness regimen.

Follow one or some of these tips, and you might just find yourself enjoying one of the best, lightest runs you’ve had in a while. At least, that’s what Monday’s Central Park jaunt brought for me.

My only 2 complaints: a strange shooting pain down the outer part of my calf and a horrific cycling accident sighting on the loop. If I haven’t said it before, then hear it now. The lower loop of Central Park should be closed off to all motor vehicles for good. Consciously allowing people, cyclists and aggressive New York City cab drivers to frequent an already-tight space is simply an accident waiting to happen.

  • Thumbs up if you agree that Central Park should ban cars from the lower loop of Central Park!
  • What tricks do you use to get yourself motivated on a post-shenanigan-filled-weekend Monday morning? Coffee? Cold shower? Glittery headgear?