Essential Etiquette for the Runner: The Snot Rocket

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During the months nearest the Winter solstice, you may discover that your nostrils accumulate mucus at an inordinately high rate. In such circumstances, it may be necessary to perform a violent uni-nostril exhalation of excess mucus*. When doing so, it is important to follow a precise set of steps to avoid unseemly, disgusting results.

*Colloquially: a snot rocket.

1. Ready

First, assess your surroundings. If you are traveling with companions, move to the rear of the group with great care not to interrupt the stride of any other runner. To compromise another’s stride is an offense of a similar magnitude to that of infidelity. Once running outside of the crowd, move to the same side of the path as the nostril that you wish to clear. You should also be aware of any other travelers upon the path. An exhalation should not be performed within 300 feet of any traveler not within one’s own party. Once sure that these requisites are met, you may proceed.

2. Aim

To begin the actual expulsion, raise the hand on the same side of the body as the nostril that is not actively being cleared to head height. As is the case with all circumstances in which a hand is raised, the pinky must be extended. The forefinger of the raised hand must then be placed on the rim of the nostril that is opposite the nostril being cleared. A gentle application of pressure will fold the rim of the nostril upon itself and thereby form an air-tight seal. If unsure of the consistency of the mucus, you may wish to rotate your head up to 45 degrees towards the side of the nostril being cleared. Any further would be considered looking back, which is a most heinous offense. A slight bend at the waist can also be employed if necessary.

3. Fire

Once in the proper position, seal your mouth and perform a brief, measured exhalation such that the entirety of the breath exits via the singular open nostril. The exact volume and rate of air exhaled will depend on a number of factors, but it is recommended that you practice whilst standing still to gain a working knowledge before attempting the procedure whilst in motion.

4. Repeat if necessary

If executed correctly, you should now have a clear nostril through which you may inhale and exhale. However, it is possible that the process will need to be repeated to clear newly accumulated mucus. Providing all the requirements above are still being met, a second expulsion is acceptable. If a third expulsion is necessary, please consult a physician, as it is likely that something more sinister is occurring.

A word of warning

Exhaling the incorrect volume of air or exhaling at the incorrect rate can lead to catastrophic results. Not enough air or speed may cause the projectile to slide onto the face or to fail to clear the body and leave an unsightly blemish on the shoulder, arm, torso, leg, or foot. Any of these outcomes should be avoided at all costs. However, it is also possible to exhale too great a quantity of air or the correct quantity too quickly, the results of which can range from a horrendous spray to a bleeding nose. For these reasons, use the utmost caution when executing the maneuver.

Need a wipe?

If you are relatively new to the snot rocket, having a pair of gloves with a nose wipe to clean away little messes can be a great asset. A few examples are listed below for your convenience.

Shop running gloves with a nose wipe: Saucony Vitarun Gloves | The North Face Runners 2 Etip Gloves | ASICS Thermopolis LT Ruched Gloves



Will has been running competitively since high school, and is currently running with the HOKA Aggies, a post-collegiate club here on the central coast of California. With a preference for the humorous and the verbose, he enjoys playing the wordsmith almost as much as his daily runs.

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