For all the bored runners out there that believe they have already mastered how to structure their training, prepare for races, and generally think they have nothing "new" to explore training-wise, some of them have gone to some extreme lengths to spice up their running routines.
These runners have begun treating their GPS watch as the tip of a brush and their bodies as the stroke that pulls that brush across a canvas to create GPS art.
The results and examples online are nothing short of spectacular: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/gpsart/
Their detailed works of dogs, Yoda, elephants, and more with a just a pair of running shoes and a GPS watch is better than I could ever do with a pen and paper.
Fortunately, for runners like me that cannot draw, there are other fun GPS-based challenges such as "Every Single Street" where the goal is to run every single street in your town to fill in a complete map with your GPS trace.
The results are just as awesome there as well.
Here is one example: https://www.instagram.com/p/BqYhq4dhG02/
Both of these challenges are a great way to impress your friends and inject some enthusiasm in your training when things go stale.
But, what if your goal is to run faster?
Can "art" help you achieve that goal?
Well, it actually can.
There is a third type of art that is super popular in cycling, but has not made its way to running yet.
It is called power meter art.
Power meter art is created by completing a perfect race or training session.
Let's have a look at that:
Here is a 30 x 30 second interval workout. The beauty is that the runner is able to instantly and repeatable hit the same intensity for each effort over and over and over again by pacing their workout using power data.
As a result, the runner produces a very satisfying yellow power line that reflects the perfection of their workout execution.
Heart rate follows a similar pattern, but it is not as flat or consistent as the power data. One rep is missed by the heart rate entirely, which throws off the visual consistency. See the image below.
Here is a 10K race. The runner is able to hold a near-perfectly even and maximum intensity from start to finish, even over the changing elevation profile. The yellow power line is very flat and represents great execution of the race!
You just don't get the same pleasing satisfaction from looking at the blue pace line. Look at the image below.
The relationship between your running power "art" and your performance is simple:
As the aesthetics of your power line improves, you improve.
More consistent, flatter, and repeatable lines mean better execution of your racing and training.
If you are better executing your training sessions, you will be extracting the full benefits of each workouts and getting the intended adaptations.
And, if you aren't executing your workouts all that well, your data won't be all that pretty and you won't be getting as much out of your workouts.
Art is fun. Now, it can also be performance enhancing.
If you want to start creating your own running power "art", you can get Stryd from the link below: