Book Review – The Masters Athlete by Peter Reaburn

Hi! Folks,

I am in the process of consolidating my ‘training library,’ and it occurred to me that some book reviews might be of interest. I decided to start with a book by Peter Reaburn because it is an excellent source of reference material and Peter seems to be a really nice guy based on our brief e-conversations.

“The Masters Athlete, Improve Your Performance, Improve Your Fitness, Improve Your Life” Peter Reaburn, Sports Scientist & Masters Athlete

This book comes with an attractive front cover and can be purchased online at

The Masters Athlete by Peter Reaburn

The style of presentation is essentially like a textbook, with a great deal of valuable information and advice, especially for older athletes. For instance, I had never clearly thought about the increased risks of cardiac failure in cold water, but the mechanisms involved are carefully explained in Peters book. There are sections on aging, training approaches, nutrition, injury prevention and treatment, and the psychological challenges of training at the masters level. Most importantly this book is full of encouragement and enthusiasm.

This valuable contribution to the literature is associated with an interesting Chez Ollie where you can read ‘Peters Musings,’ and the like.

I wish this book was available for electronic download to my Nook, which would make searching much easier, otherwise I am very pleased with my purchase, so thank you Peter and Claire Reaburn!




  1. Thanks for the kind words Kev. I’m retiring as a Professor of Exercise and Sport Science in July. Plan is to update the book and have it available as an eBook Stay tuned.
    There will be a lot on the “Extreme Endurance Hypothesis” with a lot of evidence from the last few years showing that older endurance athletes who have trained consistently hard for may years are at risk of cardiac issues such as atrial fibrillation and hardening of the arteries. Stay tuned.

    • Hi Peter,
      Nice to hear from you, and I hope that you enjoy your retirement. I retired from my science career 10 years ago, and started a new career as a writer. It’s been great. Always important to have things to wake up for. I like your work, and when it comes the those cardiac issues, I think it’s a matter of intensity rather than endurance. Ironman at the back of the pack has actually kept me alive, several times.
      For me, intensity is about 10% above easy cruise effort, and I’m happy to just finish.
      Here’s a blog post that talks about that.
      Have fun, and keep up the great work,

  2. Peter Reaburn says

    Great timing. I’m 65 years old and have had a lifetime of endurance training and competition. Swimming, surf lifesaving, cycling, running and triathlon. Competing at high levels in these means training with intensity.
    Five years ago I returned to the Gold Coast where I competed as a younger man in most of the above sports. Indeed, I won the first Open triathlon here in 1982. January 2nd in fact. Hot as hell!!
    many of the runners, swimmers and triathletes I knew from those days I have reconnected with again. Many have heart issues. Mainly AF. It has encouraged me to look deeper into the recent research related this issue. And sure enough, the research evidence is supporting the fact that long-term endurance athletes who have trained intensely, regularly for many years are at risk of AF. With one of the predisposing factors atrial remodelling. Interestingly its the more competitive master endurance athletes most at risk.
    Taking the advice of some of my AF-effected mates, I have for the last 4 years had a stress echo and stress ECG with a cardiologist who is also a triathlete. My atria are indeed enlarged and my Coronary Artery Calcium score is just over 1200 units (over 400 units is seen as severe!).
    I’m at risk of AF I have been told. However, I have no abnormal ECG changes at maximal exercise, have never had an incident. However, my cardiologist’s advice is to keep training but, as you say, don’t train as often with INTENSITY. Duration is OK, frequency is OK, NOT, as you have learnt intensity.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Later tonight I’ll read the blog. I greatly value you sharing this with me. I’ve always listed to masters athletes ahead of me on the athlete journey.
    Stay well and stay active mentally and physically.


    I’m wondering if there is a new edition of Peter’s book that I could buy for my double scull rowing compadre? He is a bit into high intensity training, while I look around at the dolphins and sea eagles on Lake Terranora (Tweed Heads NSW). Combined age in the boat is 177years.

    I bought a (signed) first edition at a talk Peter gave at a UQBC lunch some years ago – I was a masters rower on staff at UQ – one of the few.

    My wife won’t let me race any more, after an 80yo collapsed a few years ago after a race that I was in at Murwillumbah – she said “I know what you’re like, you say you’ll only do it for fun, but once they start to call your boat up to the start line, the adrenaline kicks in and you can’t help yourselves… !” “And it’s not negotiable.”

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.