Episode: 3

Marathon Mindset in Running and Business

Ruben Harris,

CEO, Career Karma

In this episode, Chacho is joined by Ruben Harris, the CEO at Career Karma. Together they discuss running tips and tricks, the mental benefits of running, having a marathon mindset in business, and more.


Highlights from their conversation include:

  • How Ruben got started running (2:45)
  • How running shoes help with pain (5:25)
  • Why Ruben runs (6:34)
  • Running roadblocks (9:24)
  • Ruben’s running routine (12:03)
  • How running affects work (14:14)
  • Highlights of Ruben’s 30-mile run (15:35)
  • Setting goals (16:30)
  • Running misconceptions (18:50)
  • Ruben’s one song repeat (21:55)
  • What Ruben likes about himself (23:17)


Backstage Capital is a VC firm that boasts one of the largest portfolios of underrepresented founders in venture. To learn more about Backstage, visit backstagecapital.com.


Automated transcription – May contain errors

Chacho Valadez 00:08
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to running in public. This is the weekly podcast that empowers you to build your running routine, while also making strides in your career. I’m your host, Chacho, validez. And this is my first ever Podcast. I’m so so happy about it. And each episode, I sit down with a startup founder, operator or leader to talk about their experience of running while they also build and run their companies. You’ll walk away feeling empowered to run your next mile while also making strides in your career. And honestly, we support any form of movement on the podcast that suits your lifestyle. So whether you like to run, walk, bike, or swim or whatever it might be. We’re all in this together. Running in public is sponsored by Island, Hamilton’s new recruiting and retention, a startup runner. A really cool name, if I say so myself and totally Quinton Neto, on both our parts. Are you an entrepreneur who wishes there were more time in the day? Have you ever said I wish I could clone myself? Then runner is for you. If you find yourself spending more time scheduling, researching and fielding emails, then talking to your customers strategizing and resting wonder could be a game changer for you. Get matched with fractional and temp to hire operations talent who want to work at your inclusive startup. fast growing larger companies are using runner to hire dozens of operations talent at a time runner is a head of recruiting best friend. Interested in learning more or becoming a runner yourself. Apply at hire runner.co That’s hire runner.co. Hello, everybody. Welcome back to running and public the podcast where we empower you to build a running routine while making strides in your career through conversations with startup founders, operators and leaders really happy to have Rubin Harris here today. RUBIN is the founder and CEO of career karma. Career karma is the easiest way to find a job training program online. They help over a million workers navigate their careers every month through advice and coaching. And I’ve known Rubin for quite a while now. And I’ve been super inspired honestly by his running routines and everything online. And he’s kind of gotten into it recently. So I’m excited for this conversation. Ruben. Thanks for Thanks for joining us.

Ruben Harris 02:36
Thank you for having me.

Chacho Valadez 02:38
Absolutely. So first question, how did you get started running

Ruben Harris 02:42
this quiz question? So good question. I got just started last year as a guy that used to live and my like, he was my roommate, everyone every day at 5am. And he also had like this, like meal prep program. And he and he would always he would always run. And I told him that I couldn’t run because my knees. I was like I had bad knees. That’s what I thought I had bad knees. So he was like just rolling me one time. So I ran with him one time. And it was like it was like a two mile run the half mile mark I was like huffing and puffing. And it’s like, it’s like November of 2020. And but we completed it and it was cool was good. I did that a couple times that I went to Ohio for Christmas. And I met my, my, my see my grandmother, and my cousins, they were running. And they run all the time. And they had they asked me they’re like, Hey, do you have running shoes? I was like, No, I don’t have running shoes that like cuz I was running like to some random video store, like you really need running shoes. Now I was like, Alright, whatever they’re like, let’s go to this store called feet fleet. So we went to fleet fleet. And they like scan your feet. And they assess like what your feet size is supposed to be. And make sure that you get a size one size bigger and all kinds of things like that and, and have you tested out and run run around and I got my first pair of shoes, Saucony guides, so I can you guys shoes. And then I’ll run with them once a week, once a week. So started doing that. And then finally they we ran one time where we did five miles. And I was like real proud of myself. But we would only run like once or twice a week. And they told me by the end of this year, you’re going to run a half marathon and I’ve never run more than five miles. And so we will do combination, we actually will run at least two two mile runs every week. And then we will do interval training like either running hills or if you’re in a if you’re doing a lap run you will do no sprint to the first line jog around sprint to the second line jog run all the way. And then long story short, I ended up doing the half marathon that I signed up into Strava. And anyway every now and then I think it really really took off when I did the four by four by four h challenge by David Goggins. And I realized that I could run and I was like, well, like, and now I’ve done half marathons, marathons. Also, all that in my year.

Chacho Valadez 05:12
That’s impressive. Congratulations.

Ruben Harris 05:15
And I don’t know, injuries, and like, I don’t feel pain.

Chacho Valadez 05:20
That’s incredible. Would you attribute this shoes a little bit to helping with the knee pain?

Ruben Harris 05:25
Oh, I think the shoes are a big deal. Because when I did the half marathon for the first time, the end of the year, I had really bad pain, not necessarily in my knees, but in my feet. And so that’s when I when I graduated to getting I didn’t graduate. But whenever I do longer runs, I got my first pair of Hocus I got Hoku gaviota czuczman. So anytime I did distances, 10 miles and above with the Hocus because I have more padding in the bottom. And then where I love, what I love the most is actually is running trails, the least impactful on my joints. But also, you got to be very mindful of what’s going on because you could trip and like injure yourself a lot easier. Oh, so I got hooked up speakers for four trails. And recently, I got some honor running cloud Stratos shoes. And I really liked though they’re actually like my favorite road running shoe so far. And I’ve done 10 mile plus runs without feeling any pain with those.

Chacho Valadez 06:29
That’s great. Yeah, that’s really cool. Why did you Why do you run? And that’s

Ruben Harris 06:33
a good question. In the beginning, I had gotten out of like a really stressful personal situation. And it helped me like, deal with a lot of that trauma, it was kind of like so first, first, I will say running this like this, like taking a drive with your feet. As they stop thinking about, you start thinking about the physical part of it. And then it becomes more of like, an enjoyable process where you’re like taking in the scenery, and understanding like why like being grateful for your body and how awesome it is that it can take you the all of these places, and really understanding a city better. And once you go from the physical to the mental to the spiritual is starting to become more like meditation. So I really started getting into like, into creating playlists for my run, I’m still not at the level where like I run without music. I think that’s very challenging. Not saying that I can’t do it. But like, I prefer running with music. And so if I want to run fast, I’ll make a fast playlist if I want to have a, you know, a slow vibe to slow playlists, but like, I really make playlists for my run. And so that that that got me into it. And then and then I was also part of the reason why I started running is because I had gained a lot of weight during during the pandemic, I was like 26% body fat. And through running, I’m now 70% body fat. And one of my goals has been to be fit for life. And I want to maintain a 10 to 15% body fat, like percentage for my whole life. And so running helped me a lot with that. And I started off with a Fitbit watch. And then graduated to a Garmin was to really track the data. And I would do monthly DEXA scans to really see those changes. And what’s cool about holding yourself accountable to doing a MFI body fat scan and muscle mass scan and bone density scan is that you Fasken is that you can see. You don’t want to see those numbers move in the opposite direction. It kind of like forces you to train. And that’s the other reason why like Strava is because it has those challenges. But in the long I think with all that being said there’s a really good quote that I saw by Dan fit go that said car yo I’m gonna mess it up by like cardio is often is overestimated for fat loss for his for his benefit to fat loss and underestimated for his benefit for mental health. So I run for mental health.

Chacho Valadez 09:09
I will totally me too. When you were saying the combination of physical, mental and spiritual. I totally feel that like that’s, that’s what it is for me as well. What are some running roadblocks you look out for?

Ruben Harris 09:23
Yeah, by the way, I’ve never been like formally coach for running at all. So whatever I tell you is just my own stuff that I have. So something that I was told when I was in the fi fleet stores like just small tips like Don’t look down when you’re running, just make sure that you’re, you’re looking straight. Make sure that your toes are under your nose, that when you’re running that you’re running kind of like a piston. Make sure that your hands are moving up and down and kind of like your when your hand goes up that like your hands like close to your nose and then it’s kind of going back down to your pocket. Make sure that I’m breathing like very calmly That’s, that’s very important. If I ever feel tightness in my lower back, which is another reason why I didn’t start running a long time ago, it’s like I feel tightness my lower back, it’s usually because my posture is often I gotta like, adjust my posture. So those are those are, those are robots that I see. But then I also think a lot about David Goggins. So David Goggins has a book called can’t hurt me. And there’s a lot of really good tips and tricks that are in that book where if you feel like quitting, then that means you’ve only reached 40%. And you have way more available in the chamber. It’s kind of like a car, where, if you know a car has something called a governor, and where your car could go 200 to 250 miles an hour. But in order to prevent the engine from overheating, there’s like a governor and the engine. So you want to move the governor from your brain so you can go full throttle. So whenever you feel like you’re ready to quit, like, you set your goal to hit 30 miles. So remove the governor from your brain and keep going until you finish. That’s one thing. He also has this mental trick called the cookie jar, where a lot of people have told you that you can’t do something, or you’ve probably met a lot of dramatic situations that you eventually overcame. All of those moments are a cookie. So for example, when we first applied to Y Combinator with career karma, we got rejected. That’s a cookie, we applied. And we got in again, later on and got every investor that told us know that events he said yes, like, more cookies, right? Every weight that I wanted to live, that I never lifted the first time, but eventually lifted, that’s a cookie. So whenever you are feeling like quitting, dig into your mental cookie jar and eat that cookie, and that should give you a adrenaline boost. So those are all things that helped me a lot.

Chacho Valadez 11:53
Yeah, it’s like almost like a reminder that you’re a badass.

Ruben Harris 11:56
Exactly, exactly. Yeah, that’s, that’s cool.

Chacho Valadez 11:59
What is your running routine look like today?

Ruben Harris 12:03
It’s real random. We’re like, I want to do at least 10 miles a week. But I do these challenges where I end up doing between 40 to 60 miles a month. Right now I’m in a big transition, just like for my personal leftovers, but this I’m not running as much as I want to, but I try to do at least a 5k 10k and half marathon every month, just just stay nimble November and stay loose. My goals for next year from a running perspective is I want to be able to do the 5k 10k and a half marathon at a seven minute mile pace. And so for perspective, you know, when I first did the half marathon, it wasn’t like very fast, it would do like 14 minute miles when I did the four by four by 48 challenge, every four minute block. And for the people that don’t know, there’s four miles for four hours for 48 hours, I ended up doing 53. But for every mile, I was doing 12 minute miles. Today, I do below two minute miles anywhere between like eight to 10 minute miles. Like last time I caught myself I was able to do seven a mile, I’m pretty sure I could get a six minute mile today. So I also want to be able to run a five minute mile. So like so. So what I’m going to try to do next year is push myself to be able to the five minute mile fac a half marathon at a seven minute mile pace. There’s this thing called Garmin coach, and a thing called the pace Pro that helps you with that. But it’s challenging doing these running things while also lifting because I also want to be able to deadlift, 500 pounds squat over 200 pounds bench over 300 pounds. So those are those are the challenges. It’s like it’s hard to put on weight and like be able to run like that at the same time. But I’m going to do it.

Chacho Valadez 13:51
Yeah, I definitely feel that determination and the will to do that. So best of luck next year. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. Don’t forget to check out our sponsor, hire runner.co For all your fractional and temp to hire operations talent needs. Now let’s get back into the show. How does running affect your work?

Ruben Harris 14:13
You know, a lot of people talk about it’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint, or they talk about marathon mindset. Like a madman mindset, you know, business is a marathon and a sprint, you know, like a thing. You know, if you think about it from a sprint perspective, the only difference between a startup and any other companies is growth and momentum, you know, and speed is the name of the game. So you got to know how to move fast, but at the same time. It’s a long term game, right? You got to be in the game for at least seven to 10 years if you want to become a multi billion dollar company. And so you got to have the, the long term mindset and the thing that’s interesting is how many people in business, throw out the marathon. You have to have a marathon mindset. But they never run a marathon. That’s always been weird to me. You can’t have a marathon if you’ve never run a marathon, in my opinion. So maybe you can you can, you can imagine what it is, but it’s not the same as doing it. Right. And so I was like, Okay, if I want to have a long term master, and I’m gonna know how to move fast, I got to be able to sprint and run for and go beyond. Because that’s how I think. So that’s why I did Ultra. So this year, I was able to do a 30 mile run, I ran from my house, all the way to Sausalito and back. And that was cool.

Chacho Valadez 15:31
What was the most fun part about that run?

Ruben Harris 15:35
most fun part about that Ryan was I had a salmon pack on. So I like this, like the it felt like nothing was really cool to have like the bottles on the front. They had these things on the back. And I had all my stuff setups where I was free, I didn’t have to carry a phone. Like everything was just like really smooth. And as I was running, I must have looked tired on the way back. Because everybody was like cheering me on. It was it was like an I’ve never run an official race. I just kind of like do this for myself. But it felt like I was in the middle of like the official race of life. And everybody was like, like, you can do it don’t stop you got this. And it was like, amazing. And it I think I think what was interesting is what I always found fascinating is if I if I set the goal to do it, then I would do it. So just for context, before I did the 30 mile run, I’d never done a marathon before, I’d only done like a 14 mile run. And so I told myself, that’s all my and this was a first one ever did when I bought a Garmin watch, too. So I told myself, I told myself, this is I’m a little competitive, too. So the reason why I decided to do this is I was talking to my cousin. And I was asking them how many miles he wants per week. And he said 30 And so that’s when I was like, Okay, I’m gonna run 31 Run. And then and then I the way I thought about it was like, Well, I’ve run 40 miles, which is from my house to Sausalito. So I just got to do that and back and then a little bit more. And this also goes to your analogy about like with business, like with business you set like really big goals, right, especially in startups that, you know, curriculum was only a little over three years old, but we’ve achieved a lot. And every year like we want a billion people in the next 10 years, there’s a lot of people, right, and we’re, you know, we’re we’re serving 1000s of people, 10s of 1000s of people per month, but we still got a long way to go, we got to serve 100 million people a year, right. So every year, the bar gets higher and higher and higher. And so, but the reason why I bring this up is if I tell myself, I’m gonna run 10 miles, I’ll start getting a little tired at five. But if I tell myself, I’m going to run a half marathon, I might get a little tired at seven and not get tired at five. Right? If I tell myself I want to do 30 Like, going back to your question about how that run feel. I wasn’t tired at all, when I got to 10 You know, it was only till I got to like around 14 or 15 that started getting tired because my mind and body mentally prepared itself that way. And the lesson just in life is just like, if you set the ambitious goal for yourself, personally, your body and spirit will rise to the occasion. The mind is the most powerful thing in the world.

Chacho Valadez 18:42
It’s very powerful. Absolutely. What do people misunderstand the most about running?

Ruben Harris 18:49
So the question a lot of people like to have been commenting on my runs on social media will say that I’m a masochist, and people that like that run long distances, just love pain. But you could argue that about any weightlifter that lifts heavyweights who think that pain is deaf pain tolerance is definitely part of this game. I’m not even going to deny that because I have elements of like of that. Like I think what what what David, David got, keep hearing me talk about David Goggins, but I really liked the mindset where he says, like, do something that sucks every day. Because if growth is uncomfortable, you got to like do the things that like get you out of your comfort zone in order to achieve the next level. And so I think people most people misunderstand runners, assuming that the reason why they run is just because they want to lose weight. But most runners out are you have developed a high from it. It’s kind of like a truck. Where like, especially on a trail like when you break out of a forest, you just see a whole crazy You are like, you’re going up, up, up, up, but then you eventually went down. It’s just like, you’re on a roller coaster. And it’s kind of you might see animals you might see, like, feel different elements. It’s just, it’s kind of crazy. And then you can also start hearing your speeds, like clocking in your head because you have the things going on. It’s just like, it’s very, it’s very interesting. So just running is not just about, about losing weight or having a six pack. It’s about, it’s about meditation. I think it’s a form, it’s moving meditation to me,

Chacho Valadez 20:32
right? Absolutely. And I think that’s definitely a big misunderstanding, because I know most of my runs aren’t even at like that hard of a pace. I’m running 80% of my runs at a conversational pace. Because I read this book called 8020 running. And I think I recommended it to you, I bought

Ruben Harris 20:49
it. So I haven’t gone through a book like this on this because I want to do more slow runs. Because

Chacho Valadez 20:55
well, it’s kind of counterintuitive, because the idea is that 80% of your runs are done at a slow pace, conversational, and then the other 20% are like the interval trainings, hill repeats, that kind of thing. And actually, when you run that way, not only do you prevent injury, and not only is running more enjoyable, but then you actually do get faster over time. And it’s really counterintuitive. It’s like, so you’re telling me if I slow down and go slow, I will get faster as a runner? And the answer is yes. So like, that was one of the biggest unlocks for me with running where it’s like, Oh, it doesn’t have to be like this All right, painful thing every single time I go on a run and helps me able to be able to listen to like audio books and that kind of thing, because I’m just like kind of trotting along listening to Harry Potter or something like that. So it’s fun. Yeah. So if you had to listen to one song on repeat for an hour long run what would it be?

Ruben Harris 21:53
So really good question. One song on repeat for an hour long run there’s all day running mixed by not making and as up Aesop Rock was 45 minutes but yeah it’s really it’s really cool because it like really it builds up it sounds like you’re waking up and just like don’t feel like what you’re getting into the zone but like that, like all Nike has a bunch I wish they kept doing it. But they have a bunch of like all day mixes there’s like one with like de la Sol and a bunch of other people. But Nike all day remixes are our fire. Oh, yeah. But no, but the question was one song

Chacho Valadez 22:30
was technically one song. You just picked a 45 minute long song.

Ruben Harris 22:33
Yeah. Is that? Yeah, I’ll stick with that one for now.

Chacho Valadez 22:37
Sounds good. Yeah, I know. Nike also, does they partner with headspace? And so you can even do meditative runs through Nike? Oh, this well? Yeah. I was. Yeah. The one thing I don’t like about Nike is that it’s hard to connect my watch with the app. It just, I have to figure it out. But I use Strava and listen to audiobooks and music, whatever I’m feeling at the time. So second to last question here. What is your favorite thing about yourself and why?

Ruben Harris 23:08
So many things. No, good. I mean, like, I’m gonna just speak very desperately, I love a lot about me, man. I’m very grateful for the mindset that I have. I’m grateful for the help that I have with friends like you and your family. I’m grateful for being exposed to recognizing that I’m not here just for myself, but a service to a higher power and to leave a legacy. I will say the thing that I love about myself the most is that right? There’s that I recognize that karmic net worth is more valuable than actual net worth. And by helping others wealthy. I don’t want for anything, I don’t want for anything now. I don’t I’m good with what I have. But I also have a maniacal drive that cannot be stopped, I will run towards I am the Juggernaut I am Wolverine and Deadpool combined. And those people’s superpowers is actually healing. So no matter what you do to try to attack me, I will always reveal indestructible, and I’ve chosen to do what I was called to do, which is help a billion people in the next 10 years.

Chacho Valadez 24:20
I love that just incredible self awareness and definitely feel the energy through the Zoom call here. And then where can people follow along your journey?

Ruben Harris 24:30
Twitter, so twitter.com/with Ben Harris, Instagram, Reuben Harris, a b and h AR. S. Email. RUBIN accurate comma.com. I’m very accessible. LinkedIn, you hit me up on LinkedIn, all of that. I document the journey. I live in public building public servant public. So no, I let me out here or hit me up for when we can do that. So

Chacho Valadez 24:56
yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Thanks so much for being on the podcast Rubin is up A pleasure talking to you.

Ruben Harris 25:01
Likewise, Matt, thank you.

Chacho Valadez 25:03
Thanks so much for listening to this episode. I really hope you enjoyed it. If you have a chance, please leave us a review and let us know what you liked about the show. And if you want to follow along with the episodes, go to your favorite podcast platform and hit the subscribe button, or you can also go to running in public.co. While we’ll be updating the website regularly, I’ll catch you on the flippety flip