A career in sport is short. Even as he was winning four Olympic and eight world championship gold medals, obliterating world records in the 200m and 400m along the way, American sprint legend Michael Johnson was thinking beyond his days out on the track.

In this exclusive excerpt from his interview with Ato Boldon for the latest episode of IAAF Inside Athletics, the Texas native shares the advice he has on moving from a career in athletics to life beyond it.

The world has changed dramatically in the years since he hung up his golden spikes, yet Johnson's seamless example is one that any athlete, in any sport and at any level, can learn from.

“I acknowledged when I first entered the sport that when I retire I’m going to have a lot of living still left to do. [I asked myself] ‘what am I going to do with those years?,’ because this is not a job that you can do until you’re 60 and 70 years old.

“Athletes asking that question to begin with is a great step in the right direction, and the first step. More should be asking that question.

“They should then ask themselves: ‘what other things am I interested in outside of being an athlete?’ The great thing about athletics as a sport is that it does expose you to lots of things around the world, it exposes you to the world that is very small now in terms of accessibility. It wasn’t that way when I first started in the sport.

“Now athletes have a lot more control over their image, over their brand, they can broadcast themselves, they can put things out there through all the social media platforms that we didn’t have. That is something that I think that athletes have to be very careful with and not get too caught up in.

“[Athletes need to] make sure that they understand ‘now how will I transition this into more opportunities for myself’. And if you do that then that can survive your athletic career, this social media profile that you have.

“Then you can start to think about how you transition that into things that are realistic. It’s not realistic to think that you’re going to have a reality television show which, by the way, people don’t get paid to be on reality television shows unless you’re Kim Kardashian, people don’t know that.

“Understand what you want to do and how that works. Look, as a track and field athlete, you’re training every day but you have a lot of downtime; you have a tremendous amount of downtime. Take that downtime to research and think about and figure out the things you are interested in, and how those things actually work.”

In the full 13-minute interview, Johnson also explains how he recovered from disappointment at the 1992 Olympics to win double gold and break the 200m world record at Atlanta 1996, and about who he thinks has the potential to be America’s next great sprinter.

Watch it below: