It’s springtime, and here in New England that means short sleeves and runny noses. In the absence of sleeves, runners must master the technique of the snot rocket. Also called the farmer’s blow, it’s a great way to effectively clear the nasal passages and breathe better on the run. Once mastered, you will join the ranks of grizzled veterans and serious runners that don’t mind being gross as much as they mind suffering politely with clogged airways.

The Snot Rocket Technique

  1. Hold your index finger to the side of your nose a push one nostril shut.

  2. Lean your body to the side of your nose that’s open. Lean past your hips or you’ll be wearing it…

  3. Deep breath in.

  4. Close your mouth and forcefully blow out your nose.

  5. Repeat on the other side.

  6. Carry on as if nothing happened while covertly checking your shirt and chin for evidence.

You can do this as you stand, walk, or run. When moving, a clean release becomes incrementally more difficult to achieve. And, if you have long hair or a beard, use caution. While considered normal running behavior, this move will get you thrown out of most respectable establishments and shouldn’t be attempted if a handkerchief or tissue can be used instead. However, it’s perfectly acceptable behavior by both men and women on the run.

Spring Running Tips: How to Perform the Farmer's Blow Click To Tweet

Closely related to the snot rocket is the spit-on-the-run move. This is  a good way to get rid of excess mucous and energy gel residue. As with the snot rocket, be sure to lean away from the body and spit forcefully. Be aware of your surroundings and the physics of wind, force, speed and viscosity. You’ll need several feet of open space behind and to the side of you, to successfully perform this maneuver.

Practice makes perfect. Try these techniques during solo training runs before using them on race day. For visual learners, Mark Remy has produced an excellent video on the art of the Framer’s Blow.

4 thoughts on “Running 101: Master the Snot Rocket

  1. I enjoy reading your posts. But this one is really not helpful. Most of us know how to blow our nose. Gross.

    1. John,
      Perhaps it was not my most masterful piece of writing. I was attempting to strike a humorous chord after a recent discussion with another runner about the mechanics of this particular maneuver.

  2. You’d be surprised, John. My wife, for one, never learned to do this and has never tried. And I once ran with a young woman who had no idea how to perform a farmer’s blow. Yes, I had to teach her. Yes, she was sincerely grateful.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Mark! Your video is enormously helpful for those who struggle with this utilitarian running skill. My son mastered it the other day and I’m sure he’ll pass it on to ranks of middle school harriers next fall.

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