How to Blow Snot Rockets

author : Team BT
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Successful deployment of "the farmer's blow"

The colder it gets, the more likely it is that you can't get through a workout without encountering some snot. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. 

Personally I have no desire to carry tissues with me on outdoor workouts, so at least once per workout, I need to clear my nostrils in the most efficient way possible, ideally without getting snot all over myself.

In triathlon, we have three sports potentially intersecting with snot. Fortunately with swimming, if you exhale out your nose, it pretty much is washed off as you swim, so there's really no technique involved. We will therefore concentrate on dealing with mucous while biking and running for the purposes of this article.


Standing Snot Rockets


I recommend beginning your farmer's blow training standing still. This eliminates the variables of wind (mostly), head position, and forward velocity.

First begin with a nose full of snot. If you have a runny nose, you will be more successful with your first try. If you are really stuffed up with thick mucous, this will be more of a challenge.

Standing outdoors, lean forward at the waist, making sure there is nothing in the path of gravity between your nose and the ground. I prefer to begin over grass or mulch rather than plain concrete or asphalt. That way I don't have to stare at the glob of snot on the smooth ground, and in the winter I needn't worry about it freezing and turning into a (really gross) slipping hazard.

Just as with spitting, the more force you can use in the expulsion, the more likely it is that the snot will fly clear and avoid creating a dangling mess. A dangling mess is OK when you are standing still, but it will swing back and forth and get all over you if you are moving. To create the most force, I advise doing one nostril at a time. There are snot rocket experts who can clear both nostrils at once without touching their nose (and without snot touching them) but this is an advanced technique better mastered after you have the basics down.

Place a finger on the right side of your nose, blocking air through the right nostril. Tip your head so your left nostril is facing the ground. You'll need to look up slightly, jut your chin out, and tip your head to the left, so the opening of your left nostril is pointed downward. Now press hard on the right side of your nose while simultaneously breathing out very hard and very quickly through your nose. All of the air should go through the left nostril, ejecting any mucous there. With any luck, your left-side snot will land safely in the grass. Repeat on the opposite side, blocking your opposite nostril. If clearing the nostril requires more than one exhalation, you aren't doing it hard enough and will make a mess while running.


Running Snot Rockets


Having mastered Standing Snot Rockets, we move on to running ones.

While running, press one nostril closed while exhaling hard and fast out of the other. You will need to experiment with head position to avoid getting snot on yourself. I tend to rotate my head to the desired side while tilting my head out and my chin in at the same time. As you practice, you'll learn to judge the wind. Additionally, you'll learn the exact moment in your stride to eject the snot when your shoulder is moving back out of the line of fire.

Repeat on the other side.


Cycling Snot Rockets


The final frontier. Blasting mucous from your nose at 17mph. What could go wrong?

While attempting this maneuver, remember it is far better to get a little snot on your shirt or face than to wreck your bike.

With cycling, you are likely to have the opportunity for much more practice, since the head-down position of aero riding often causes a lot more running noses than the upright position of running.

Cycling snot rockets are quite similar to running snot rockets, with the following exceptions:



  • Head position will be different, and movement of your head is likely to cause a change in your steering, which you will need to compensate for.

  • Putting a finger on one side of your nose means you are riding one-handed, and therefore less able to compensate for the weaving caused by your change in head and arm position.

  • The force of blowing hard out your nose can also cause the bike to jerk or veer a little, which can induce panic and over-correction. On your first few attempts, wait for a straight, wide stretch without traffic.

  • Your forward velocity will be greater, changing the trajectory of the snot. You may need to direct it at a harder angle away from your body, with more force, to avoid having it land on your leg or shoulder.

  • Do not blow snot on the person riding behind you!


Please do not practice these techniques indoors. Or if you do, don't tell people you learned it at BeginnerTriathlete.com.

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date: December 23, 2016

Team BT