Be the Next Warhol: Making Your Exercise Route into Art

By: Emily Leff |

Running is monotonous by nature. It can be difficult to get up and go, especially if you’ve grown accustomed to and tired of traversing the same route regularly. On the one hand, establishing a favorite route can be a good thing; you feel comfortable with your surroundings, you know the mile markers without having to check your phone, and you always see that one adorable dog on their daily walk around the block. On the other hand, running the same route regularly can become boring, weakening your motivation to go out in the first place.

Believe it or not, finding a new running route can be more than just wandering aimlessly in an unknown area, hoping you won’t get lost. In fact, it can be an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing and make art.

What is GPS art?

With the advent of running apps that allow users to track their runs with GPS, people have started to realize that their paths on the map don’t just function as an outline of where they went, but also can paint a pretty picture for others’ enjoyment.

A route on a GPS map in the shape of a dinosaur.


A path on a GPS map that appears as "Obama 2012."

How can I become a GPS artist?

Channeling your inner artiste while getting your miles in is easy; all you need is an app like MapMyRun or Strava. These apps have a function that allows you to draw out a specific route on a map before you set out, meaning you can paint your picture and go out knowing what the final product is going to look like.

3 phones displaying different types of apps that can be used to track exercise routes using GPS technologyl

Other apps like Endomondo or Nike Run Club have GPS capabilities that show you the drawing of your path after your run, but do not allow for you to pre-draw it. However, if you are more of a “wing it” kind of runner, these will work just fine; your masterpiece will just be a surprise in the end! Don’t like holding your phone when you run? Use an armband to strap it around your arm during your run, leaving your hands free and giving you a secure place to additionally keep other items, like your keys and ID.

An armband that can hold your phone and keys while you run.

Beating the boredom of monotonous running routes won’t just give you new paths to explore (and more dogs to meet along the way!), but also lets you show your creative genius in an unconventional way. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and let your inner artist run free.