Real Madrid's flying Welshman Gareth Bale tells SPIKES about the athletics behind his athleticism.

Gareth Bale is regularly touted as the fastest man in football. A recent FIFA-endorsed study even suggested that he can clock speeds of up to 36.9 km/h, which is only marginally slower than the 37.58 km/h average speed Usain Bolt travelled at en route to his 100m world record.

Though those figures need to be taken with a pinch of salt, anyone who has seen Bale's trademark lightning turn of pace that leaves defenders for dead will attest that the second most expensive footballer in the history of the sport is every inch the athlete. Even in the early days of his career, the Welshman's performance stats showed that he was covering more ground and running with greater intensity for longer periods than any other player on the pitch.

No surprise to learn, then, that Bale was one of those kids who competed for his school in every single sport they played. That included track and field: Bale' rather impressive 12.78m triple jump PB, set aged 15, shows he's got more than just unrefined pace.

We asked Bale about his relationship with athletics.

How important is running in your physical preparation?

Running is hugely important in my physical preparation. Staying fit and working on my speed are integral aspects of my training and allows me to keep improving on the pitch.

What is your favourite event in track and field athletics?

I think my favourite track and field event has to be the 100m – just for the pure excitement. Although I will always watch the 200m and 400m as you get to see a slightly more tactical race, which is always enjoyable!

What is your 100m PB?

The last time I was timed over 100m was when I was 14 and I ran it in 11.4. I'd have hoped I'd have improved on that, so would be interested to see what I could do now – [Don't worry we're already tracking him down to set up a race].

Who is your favourite track and field athlete?

It's the obvious choice, but my favourite athlete has to be Usain Bolt. What he has done on the big stage is incredible and on his day he is unrivalled!

What do you think of Usain Bolt's 9.58 100m WR?

I remember watching him break the world record in the Beijing Olympics and then to hear he had gone faster than that was unbelievable. I think that if he himself doesn't break the record again, it is one that could stand for a long time!