Determination is key to the success of a long-distance runner. Lee Kar-lun began his sporting career as a football player before turning to long-distance running in 1981. It took him years of sacrifice, dedication and hard training to win the Hong Kong Athlete of the Year award in 1993. 'Sometimes it is very boring to train alone,' said Lee. 'The way to make yourself feel less dreary is to enjoy the process, rather than to have a suffering mentality.' To enjoy running, one must learn the correct running posture in order to avoid injuries. The first thing is to relax your shoulders and muscles. Also, your elbow must be at a 45-degree angle and your fists should neither rise above your shoulder nor fall behind your waist when running to save strength. However, perhaps one of the most important things to bear in mind when running is not to thump the sole of your foot on the ground, as doing so will concentrate all the shock on your knee cap. Lee suggests that runners first land on their heels and then roll their feet on the ground. While it is common sense to do warm-up exercises before running, many people ignore the need to relax their bodies after training. Just as we cannot simply unplug our computer, Lee said we must do cool-down exercises such as stretching for about 15 minutes to relax our muscles after a run. As for where to jog, grass pitches are the safest venues. But if you are really serious about running, Lee suggests running on beaches where the sand is soft and spongy, as this can help sharpen your responses and footwork. 'Your rhythm of running [on the sand] has to be very quick, like dragonflies touching the surface of water,' he explained. However, while it is very important for runners to work hard during training, it is far more crucial for them to run smarter - rather than harder - during a race. Long-distance runners must set short-term goals to maintain a good fighting spirit during a race. 'For example, if I am running a 42km race, I will first think about running the first 10km,' said Lee. 'After finish running the first 10km, I will focus on completing half of the race, which is 21km. After that, it is about counting down to the end.' To Lee, running has brought more to him than honour and satisfaction. He met his wife, a long-distance runner from Singapore, at a competition in Jakarta in 1993. They married in 1995, thanks to sharing the same passion for this lonely sport. 'You can't compare yourself to other people [in running],' said Lee. 'Even if you are already number one, you still have to compete with yourself. 'If you cannot win against yourself, how can you win against other people?'