Getting to Know One of the World’s Best Triathlon Coaches
He likes to keep a low profile and fly under the radar, but here we find out more about Dan Lorang...
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This is part of our annual Multisport Movers & Shakers awards, highlighting the people you should know about who are helping to shape the sport in the year to come. Read about all of our 2022 Multisport Movers & Shakers.
It’s not by chance that you become the first coach in history whose athletes both win the Ironman World Championship on the same day (Jan Frodeno in the men’s and Anne Hang in the women’s fields in Kona in 2019). And it’s not by chance that the athlete you have just started to work with wins the 70.3 World Championship with the fastest swim, bike, and run of the day for one of the most impressive performances the sport has ever seen (Lucy Charles-Barclay in St. George last year).
That’s why Dan Lorang has to be considered one of the world’s best triathlon and endurance coaches out there. His scientific, calm and down-to-earth approach is no fluke. Instead, it’s the result of more than two decades of research, passion, and hard work. Not only in triathlon, but in cycling too, as his full-time job is still Head of Performance and Innovation for the BORA-hansgrohe professional cycling team.
And when you read the names of a few of his athletes, you simultaneously read the history and the future of the sport: Jan Frodeno (Olympic gold medalist; four-time Ironman world champion), Anne Haug (Ironman world champion), Lucy Charles-Barclay (70.3 world champion), Sarah True (two-time Olympian).
But what does the future hold for this king Midas of the endurance sports world and his dream team?
“This year, especially in the long distance, there’s a big year ahead,” he said. “If everything goes according to plan, we will have for Jan, Anne, and Lucy two world championships, St. George and Kona, fingers crossed. And additionally, for Lucy, there’s the Sub-8 project and if there’s space, even some short distance races to get points.”
That’s because Charles-Barclay’s other goal—on top of winning St. George and Kona (and defending the 70.3 crown)—is to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. As soon as he heard of this goal of hers (in early 2021), he reached out to her and her team, set up a meeting—and since April last year he’s been overseeing her training. He said: “It’s always the athletes who set their goals, and coaches are there to help them to achieve them. So it’s not that I see myself in the position to set goals for my athletes, but if they come with the energy and with the commitment to do it, I’m completely on fire and try to support them as well as possible.”
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Lorang has been working with Frodeno for almost 10 years and with Haug for more than 15 (the two met at university when they were both studying sports science). Despite their different athletic backgrounds and physiological characteristics, there’s one thing that all of Lorang’s athletes have in common: They deliver when it matters, and they’re as hungry and driven as they were when they had just started the sport. Meanwhile, he is a master of preparing them well, developing them over the years, and providing longevity and steady guidance.
But what about him? What are his long-term plans, and where does he see himself in the future?
“I don’t have the answer yet,” he confessed. “I would say at the moment I’m happy with the cycling team. I’m thankful for the situation because my team gives me a lot of trust and freedom to work with the triathletes. I’m very happy with what we created with BORA. So if I did something new, it would be really new.”
One of his career’s following chapters has already started, as Lorang has just launched an endurance coaching consultancy agency called Intercept (together with exercise physiologists James Spragg and Peter Leo). At the same time, he doesn’t exclude moving into other sports, like soccer or returning to short-distance triathlons.
“There are still some challenges that are waiting there,” he said. “It’s not that I force it, but perhaps you notice sometimes you have a feeling and that helps guide what you have to do. And if this situation arises, I’m open to it.”
And no matter the sports—or the different endurance disciplines—that he moves on to next, one thing is for sure, that with Lorang in their corners, his athletes will keep flying high.
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