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Thursday 5 March 2015

Snot Rockets: The Definitive Guide & How To - GUEST POST

Hey, I’m Fiona and I blog over at Scallywag Sprints. Recently Sarah wrote a post about the 4 Horsemen of Running Apocalypse: itching; chafing; blisters; and poo. However much I agreed with her assessment, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was missing another insidious bad guy: snot.

I cannot be the only runner whose nose starts dripping the second I get outside and get sweaty. It’s like the sheer effort of exercise has made my brains melt and drop out of my nose in reckless abandon. This effect is a thousand times worse if it’s too cold, or too hot, or windy. So essentially if there is any weather, at all.

I used to just wipe my nose on the inside neck hem of my running top; or on gloves if I was wearing any. An instructor even once told me that waterproof gloves have a fabric stripe for that exact purpose. However there are issues in this method- it feels nasty rubbing up against your own nose goo; its only really a use-once option; like wiping your nose it’s a matter of seconds till it needs done again; and lastly, if it’s cold enough the snot freezes between your skin and the top and you will end up stuck to it. Truly disgusting.

However there is a solution: snot rockets. I can hear your protestations, and yo, people, I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but snot rockets are one of the best ideas of all time! One of the best ideas of all time! Kanye out. Seriously though- snot rockets may sound abhorrent, but if executed well they are clean; environmentally friendly; and weirdly satisfying.

[From Adidas campaign 1999/2000]
So how do you execute a snot rocket so wonderful that they will crown you the patron saint of nose clearance? When your nose is a free flowing waterfall and you can’t breathe through one or both nostrils; start with the confidence that something must be done. First, check you are outdoors. Hopefully you are not surprised by what you find from this appraisal. Snot rockets are not for the gym- just go to the bathrooms you lazy butt. Ideally you keep running whilst rocketing, but for your first few attempts I suggest pulling up into a halt or a walk and moving to one side of the path. Don’t get cocky.

Check your blind spots and the wind direction. You do not want to snot onto a passer-by. You should approximate about a 3-foot blast radius; larger in the direction the wind is going. If you have safe clearance distance, it is time. Breathe in through your mouth sharply. Close one nostril with a finger or with a bent knuckle- make sure this is firmly sealed. Concentrate. Exhale sharply and explosively through the open nostril while tilting head down and out away from your body, particularly your shoulder. You should witness a meteor-like snot trail fly from your nostril into the distance. Watch it in wonder. If this is your first time you may feel almost tearily proud; as if you were watching a spaceship take off at NASA. This is completely normal. Repeat on the other side if necessary, though I do often find its just one nostril that is leaking. Your nose will feel gloriously clean.

“If executed well”? Ah… You heard that. See, if executed badly snot rockets will end up all over your face; or all over the face of the person next to you. No one is going to love that. The most common issues are:
  1. Not exhaling hard enough, then the snot runs down your chin.
  2. The exhalation being too long and slow- the snot will spray in a much wider distribution, so you are more likely to get some on you or someone else, and have a much larger danger radius.
  3. If the exhalation is too hard and you’ll get a bleeding nose for your troubles. Also lends a note of caution to anyone who gets nosebleeds easily.
Friendly fire will happen to you at some point; so at least whilst you are a learner always have a backup glove or tee handy. You will also almost certainly experience judgement. If it’s another exerciser; feel smug that they do not know the glory of the well-executed rocket, or even worse have tried and just can’t do it. If it’s a different passer-by, just think of how many paper hankies they have used in their lifetime. It’s like they want climate change. Bastards. Snot is biodegradable.

You are now fully prepared for any nose running trauma. You never again have to try to surreptitiously rub your nose on your sleeve, or work out how the hell to blow a nose on a sports bra, or taste the weirdly oil-like saltyness of snot dripping into your mouth (don’t say you haven’t, everyone has). You have been freed, by the underrated, hidden from polite society, unfairly judged, snot rocket.

If you loved this post you can follow Fiona on Twitter @ScallywagSprint and on her blog here.


  1. Thanks so much for featuring me, Sarah!

    And everyone else, seriously its an art. Even experienced folk make errors- on Sunday I sprayed myself all over the legs- glorious.

    1. Did the snotty lubrication work to make you run faster??

      Love this post! I will be most upset if in my next race I am unable to execute a perfect snot rocket directly in front of the race photographer.