Runner's Web
Lynne Bermel
Lynne Bermel's Column

Contact Lynne via email @

July 21, 2000

Interview with Ottawa Tri-Du Coach, Ian Fraser

Runner's Web: What are you up to these days with respect to coaching and your own personal training?

Ian: Right now I'm in race season with most of my athletes. I find this to be the most nerve racking time of all as a coach, checking results every Sunday night and biting my nails all weekend! Making sure each athlete reaches her or his goal is really personal and important to me.

Ian Fraser
My own training is progressing nicely. As is my customary style, most of it is done alone. I really enjoy being by myself when it comes to getting the quality kind of sessions in that are required for good preparation.

Runner's Web: Why did you decide to make the move from the restaurant world at Zak's Dinner to full-time personal trainer?

Ian: I was part owner of Zak's Diner on Bank Street here in Ottawa for about 2 years. I was also the one and only managing partner! Being in the restaurant business was a real eye opener! I'd had plenty of experience during my racing days, as I would spend about half the year working at friends establishments. However, I realized that I didn't "love" the restaurant game. My passion was Triathlon! The long hours and lack of control over so many different variables made work and life really tough. Also, the lack of support from my partners, at certain times, left me a bit dejected. On top of that Marisa and I were about to have our first baby and the decision was pretty simple, working the kind of ridiculous hours I did wouldn't fit with a new family!

Runner's Web: How have you found life as a full-time coach so far? Do you have enough clients to keep you solvent and busy?

Ian: Towards the end of my involvement at Zak's I started to resurrect the training business I had worked at part-time while I was racing, and found that making it a full-time gig was fairly quick and easy!

My work now is so rewarding. I have enough athletes to make it a going concern. Now it seems that I need some help so as to start focusing on camps/clinics and building a stronger on-line presence.

Runner's Web: What kind of training philosophies do you impart on your proteges?

Ian: I would say that my philosophy is one of creating a good "road map" for my athletes, based on a real solid understanding of why they are involved in sport and what their heartfelt goals are. Following on this, making a good, on-going schedule that fits into a balanced life is the ultimate end result.

Runner's Web: What do you think are the keys to being a good runner/triathlete?

Ian: I think the key to creating a successful runner/triathlete is to make sure an athlete follows a training plan that's individually designed for them! What works for an elite athlete in California doesn't work for a novice in Edmonton. Sometimes reading magazines or following other forms of information can be a detrimental thing that can sometimes create a "keep up with the Jones' " mentality. Second, respecting your bodies need to rest! Third, remembering that a lot of gain can be made by working on the technique aspects of a particular sport. Last, patience!

Runner's Web: What races are on your schedule this year?

Ian: Personally, my plan is to do Ironman Florida this November (assuming Graham Fraser will extend an entry! Hey, we have the same last names, that's got to count for something right?)

Runner's Web: How do you think Ottawa fares as a city for training?

Ian: I think Ottawa is a great city for training! I have to be honest, I HATE WINTER! There is nothing that remotely interests me about cross-country skiing or any other outside sport for that matter! My friends keep telling me to "just try it". No way! If I could up-root Ottawa and move it some place warm, this would be about as close as you could get to Utopia.

Runner's Web: What is your view of the closures of two spinning clubs in the city (MacFitness and Physical Limits...a hot one for ya, Ian)

Ian: I was sad to see both clubs close recently. My conclusion is that you really can't make a go of a "spinning only" establishment. Ottawa simply doesn't have the income base to allow clubs to charge the kind of fees they need to for a "one focus" club to exist. Sure, it works in NYC where there are no shortage of people willing to pay between $25-$40 for one class! Not in Ottawa! It's also a shame because having traveled a bit and seen other instructors; Ottawa is blessed with some really excellent personalities who teach.

Runner's Web: Tell us a little about this "Boot Camp" you offer.

Ian: Ah Boot Camp! This is a little fitness program I put together last fall that's a real throw back to high school gym class. It's an hour-long combination of calisthenics, some yoga moves and lots of cardio work! The beauty is that we use no special equipment and the "rattier" your attire is the better, 'cause things can get pretty messy during this rain or shine endeavor! Right now we are going Mon/Wed/Fri at 6:30 AM at the RMOC grounds and soon to be starting on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in CenterPoint. Get in touch with me for more details.

Runner's Web: Who are some of the athletes you coach?

Ian: Locally I work with Keith Palmater and Frances Russell, Eric Roy, Missy Parent, Monique Giroux, Lisa Balerna and about 20 others… a real eclectic group.

Runner's Web: What do you find most rewarding about coaching?

Ian: I think the most rewarding part of my "job" is seeing the satisfaction an athlete gets after achieving their special goal or accomplishment and knowing that I was a part of that. I also learn so much from all of my people! Things that I can apply to my own training, or stuff that's helpful when working with someone else.

Thanks Lynne for the opportunity to tell all your readers what we're up to in this little corner of Canada!

Ian's Top Race Results:

~NorthEast US long course champion (1995)
~Presidents Choice/Subaru series champion (1996)
~Quebec Triathlon series champion (1996)
~Quebec Triathlon champion (1996)
~Muskoka Long Course Champion (1996)
~Ontario Duathlon Champion (1997)
~Runner-up Canadian Long Course Championships (1997)
~Third place Canadian Duathlon Championships
~a number of top ten finishes in major races around North America including (Memphis in May/Philadelphia 1/2 IMAN/Gulf Coast Triathlon...)

Ian can be reached by email at or by phone at (613)565-0638

Contact Lynne via email @

For more on Lynne's background read this interview with Wayne Scanlan which appeared originally in the Ottawa Citizen.

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