Team Hammock is lacing up its shoes once again to participate in the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon on Saturday, April 25, in Nashville.

It’s one of the biggest races in the country, bringing together more than 40,000 runners and walkers—and among those will be at least two of us here from Hammock. That’s right, Jamie Roberts and I have already committed—and started training. (For anyone keeping count, the score is Editorial Department: 2, Art Department: 0).

Jamie and I both participated in the race last year, and if you’re on the fence about joining us, we can honestly say the cotton candy-flavored Go-Gurt at the finish line makes it worth every step.

We’re so excited about the prospect of eating cotton candy-flavored Go-Gurt again, that we’ve already started training for the race. For those of you who plan to be at the start line on April 25, we’re sharing a few of our favorite tips for the first month of training for a half or full marathon.

  • Jamie says the right mix on your iPod is key. While iPods are forbidden on race day, they sure help all those training miles much more bearable. Upload your fastest-paced songs and intersperse those with more mellow tunes (for the breaks you’ll take in between spurts of sprinting or power walking).
  • Lena can speak from experience when she says, “Get the right socks.” If you’re prone to blisters, find socks that are made of synthetic fibers—cotton socks are this runner’s worst nightmare.
  • Whether you’re planning to walk or run the full or the half marathon, you’ll quickly find out that limber muscles will make training—and race day—much easier. Start good stretching habits in the first week of training so that by race day tight muscles won’t even be on your radar.

In an effort to get more of my fellow workers to sign up for the race, I’m going to be using forceful intimidation, bribery, blackmail and good old fashioned guilt trips. Check back in a few weeks to see if it worked.