A local runner is putting a creative spin on her outdoor jogs, mapping out art on her routes.

Andrea Sweny already knows where she's going to run before lacing up her shoes.

"It definitely made runs a lot more enjoyable for me," she said.

Sweny carefully maps out her routes to a create a picture using the Strava app.

"You can look at a map of your area or city and find interesting places, parts of the city where streets intersect, and create different shapes," Sweny explained.

She's created designs like a running t-rex, a squirrel, a lion and a turtle.

Sweny said she loads the design into her smart watch and then follows along for her run.

The runs don't need to be long to create art on the map. Even a one-kilometre walk will do the trick.

Experts said the challenge improves motivation during the cold months, especially with gyms closed due to the pandemic.

"Looking for variety in runs, especially for people who have been doing it for a while, is something that is pretty important," said Mark Havits with the University of Waterloo.

"This just adds a whole different artistic element to it," said Kim Dawson, a professor of sports psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. "It fulfills so many other needs too. It's something that is creative and inventive and it really is pushing us in a new direction."

Local business Runners Choice is hosting a contest to get runners involved, inspiring around 15 runners.

"Mental health has been tougher than ever with lockdown," co-owner Alex Ullman said. "We just want to get people outside."

Sweny said it can help keep people motivated when there are no races or group activities going on.

"It can be hard to sustain your motivation to go out and exercise in the cold," she said.

Sweny plans to continue mapping out more pictures as she expands her routes.

All routes mapped on the Strava app