Subscription Boxes must be tough to get right. The box has to have enough useful stuff of perceived and monetary value to keep people coming back. Many boxes are loosely connected products and whatever sponsors are willing to offer up. I have opened several boxes by a few different companies, but FunRunBox is a refreshing change from the “box of stuff.” This box motivates you from the moment you open it.
Included in the February 2020 box, right on the top, are two paper items: One is a set of training plans — 4 weeks of workouts for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced runners called “Making it a Habit.” This is probably the most thoughtful and inspiring inclusions in the whole box, and the rest of the items support this. The second paper is a rundown of what is in the box, a welcome letter, and “RunnerSpeak,” demystifying common running terms. We runners do sort of have our own language.
So what was in the box, and what did I think?
Bumble Root Antioxidant and Electrolyte Drink Mix, Raspberry Hibiscus Mint
This powdered mix has a light flavor, though a bit “thick” in consistency when mixed with water. It would be a nice addition to a light smoothie — Almond or Coconut milk with plain greek yogurt. As a hydration source, it settled out quickly, so needed to be stirred or swished before drinking to avoid a slurry at the bottom. I do prefer other hydration sources like Nuun for my regular water drinking, but this is a nice alternative. It’s a bit exotic in its ingredients, making for an interesting change. Not sure I’d buy more of it, though.
Skratch Labs Energy Chews, Matcha Green Tea and Lemon
While I’ve heard great things about Skratch Labs, and would love to try other products from this company, I’m not a big fan of gummies, chews, or bites. The gelatin-style fuel is tough while breathing hard running at hard paces, and it takes a lot of work to get through one chew, let alone a whole packet. I brought these on a 14 mile run that included race-pace miles. The flavor was fine, but I had to stop dead to eat them. I took on 4 out of the 11 chews in the packet, and that was plenty. It was cooler outside, so they were harder to chew (sitting in an outside pocket). It took a while to eat those four. Suggested serving (for starting out) on the packet is a full pack per hour. I was out for 3 hours and only ate another 4 after my race pace miles were done. The flavor was good, although I don’t care for Green Tea, and Matcha is just an acquired taste in my mind. The other thing I didn’t like was the sugary powder they were dusted with. The powder got everywhere since I didn’t eat the whole pack and put the bag back in my pocket. All this said, I like the flavor, and if you like chews — something solid — this is a great option. Definite pro: I had no GI distress during the rest of the run, which is always the thing that concerns me.
Honey Stinger Waffle, Honey flavor
The concept behind the stroopwafel is not a new one. The Dutch are credited with their creation in the late 18th century. Somehow, these waffle cookies with a caramel or honey filling have made their way into sports nutrition as a quick, on-the-go, option for endurance athletes. Honey Stinger offers a variety of flavors that are great to stick in a hydration pouch for on-the-run nutrition, but the way I enjoy them is to top off the tank before a long run, and Honey Stinger waffles have been part of my running life for a while. I’ll munch on one of these quick snacks before I head out to keep me from getting too hungry after a couple of hours on the road. One complaint I have is that they can get pretty crumbly if handled too much, making the waffle a bit messy when you open it. The other complaint is that they might be too good, because I have to hide them from my son (who also loves them). I’d reach for these whenever they are available.
Honey Stinger Organic Gel, Honey Vanilla flavor
Also not a new concept, the endurance formulated gel has been around for a while. However, Honey Stinger brings it back to organic sources like natural vanilla and honey. While I don’t often take gels anymore, I gave this one a try on a recent long run. I don’t much care for the consistency of gel-style sources, but Honey Stinger’s Organic product kept GI distress at bay — something that I’ve found problematic with other gels. I still wouldn’t reach for this product first, but it does taste great. If you like gels, I’d suggest trying the Honey Stingers.
Hydrapak Collapsible Water Bottle
While this is a great idea, and I was kind of excited about it when I first saw it, the Hydrapak is a bit of a conundrum for me. I’m a bit unsure of how to carry it when it’s full. The collapsible bladder design is a bit too soft to stay put in a belt or large pocket, and carrying a bottle of cold water in hand just makes my hands cold. Admittedly, I thought this was a great idea, but then came back around to my sturdier traditional hard shell bottles. I don’t know if I have a suggestion for this. Neat idea, but maybe more trouble than it’s worth for 300 ml (10 ounces). From the website, it looks like these are well-suited to day-hiking and backpacking.
2Toms Stink Free Detergent and Spray
Ever since switching over to products like this from a commercial detergent, I have found that the stink actually does get pulled out of the clothes! I used the 2Toms Detergent on my athletic wear and tech fabrics (like my RunDisney shirts — I don’t wear them running, but the fabric is the same). After washing, I will hang my gear rather than throw it in the dryer. This keeps the stink from returning and extends the life of the fabrics. I found that 2Toms works great for removing stink. The spray stick was a different matter. I work very hard to air out my running shoes, so they don’t get too stinky. My sons shoes, though? Oh. My. I sprayed a little bit of the spray inside his shoes, and while it didn’t entirely get rid of the stink, it helped enough to be tolerable. My guess is when the stink gets that bad, you might need a second shot.
FRB Running Bullet Journal
Knowing I’m not one for “creative” journaling (I just want to write my to-do list. I don’t need it to look pretty), this is a fun and creative way for athletes to re-enforce the habit building that is this box’s theme. There are plenty of things to “color in” — shoe trackers, mileage trackers, and even the journal entries have lots of opportunity find some zen around your workouts. I’m a huge proponent of logging your workouts, whether online or in writing, and seeing this inclusion in the box just makes me really happy as a coach. One complaint I have though, is in the details of the journal. The Heart rate and Steps per minute are listed in a range. The Heart Rate scale shows from 100-200 bpms, and the SPM’s range from 160-210. Beginning runners may look at these scales and if they are consistently registering on the low end, they might feel like they aren’t doing enough, prompting them to more than they’re ready for and getting themselves hurt. Both might require a little more explanation or at least a different presentation, such as filling in the average HR or SPM as a single number.
The FunRunBox Challenge T-Shirt
Given that I have about 100 t-shirts, I didn’t NEED another one. That said, I love this shirt! It’s roomy cut is great for an easy run or take it inside to the gym. The design is fun, active, and motivating. While the gray might not be everyone’s favorite, I do like the versatility of the shirt. The other great thing about this item is how it fits in with the theme of the box. The “In Training” idea is a great motivator for those who are trying to develop — or redevelop — a habit. It is a reminder that a company like FunRunBox has their back, and is willing to help encourage them through the great workouts as well as the tough ones.
I’ve tried several running-specific subscription boxes. I’ve liked some of them, but more often than not, there are a couple of things in each box I just wouldn’t use. Also, I think Subscription Boxes can be a tough business model, especially in a niche market like running. All that said, I’ve never seen a box so well thought out and curated. It’s a collection of items that FRB felt would make sense with a theme that tied it all together. I can’t say the same for a lot of other sub-boxes. They really did a lovely job creating a motivational, encouraging, themed collection for the runner who is hoping to “Make it a Habit.” I would hope that they continue this trend, and I highly recommend FunRunBox.
If you’d like to try out FRB, please click on this affiliate link. I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can also get 15% off your first box when you use the code “WELCOME15” at checkout. Check out this Unboxing Video for more details!
What do you think? Are there products you would be interested in trying?