Dizziness during runs

I'm 43 female and have run many 10km races and half marathons. I ran 2 marathons last year (brighton and Bournemouth) with times of 4h16 and 4h11. I began training for this year's Brighton in Jan. This included running Fleet half marathon in March - around mile 8 I suddenly felt v dizzy and thought I was going to fall over. I slowed down and after about 5 mins the feeling passed. It scared me enough to go see gp who did ecg at rest - normal. The following week I did 22 mile training run and had to stop several times (maybe 5 or 6 times during 3.5 hrs). Saw cardiologist who did stress test running on treadmill all fine, said I was v fit. Next run outside only ran 3 miles and had same problem. Had to cancel running Brighton image only happens when I'm outside - I have treadmill and this week ran 40 mins steady pace and was fine. Ran outside the day before and had to stop after 1 mile feeling dizzy and sick it's getting worse and comes on more quickly. I feel if I don't stop I will collapse. Have seen an allergist last week who confirmed I am allergic to various pollens but wasn't convinced this was causing my dizziness. Please can someone help - I love running and I am so down, missing my running club and doing races... Also does anyone by some miracle know Sarah Wilson 13 - she posted here in 2009 with exactly same problem I would love to know if it was resolved and how - thank you x


  • I sometimes get dizzy spells, mostly when I stand up too quick. Low blood pressure can cause this. Ear problems can affect balance as well. Have you had blood pressure and ears looked at?
  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭
    You may have labyrinthitis I think there are a few threads on here about it. I know a couple of people who reported similar symptoms and were diagnosed with it. Something to do with your eustachian tubes and balance I think.
  • MicheBMicheB ✭✭
    Thank you v much for your reply - blood pressure fine I think (it was monitored when I did the stress test on the treadmill). The cardio said if anything it was slightly elevated and he wld expect it to be low when I'm dizzy (but then I've never had the prob on treadmill and so wasn't dizzy during stress test). The gp hasn't specifically checked my ears so will def ask when I go back next to rule in/out - altho they have said they don't think its vertigo.
  • MicheBMicheB ✭✭
    Thank you Mr puffy - I will def ask about labrynthitis but I don't know why I would only get the prob when I run outside and not on treadmill image without actually examining (not sure why!) I don't think the gps think it's ear related
  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭
    Well on the treadmill you won't be making the same effort for the same pace on the road so that might explain it if it is a blood pressure issue. But also on the treadmill your horizon and surroundings are fixed. outside you will be making many subconscious adjustments to your balance based on your surroundings.

    Mrs puffy has the heartrate of a fish and very low blood pressure. She will go dizzy on standing occasionally but has never got dizzy running even at the end of a long race.
  • MIcheB did you ever resolve this? I am a runner with vertigo issues, not yet fully diagnosed.

  • Not yet unfortunately but not given up! Still running, sometimes dizzy sometimes not. Have had an ILR fitted in my chest to monitor heart activity since I posted, actually I had an app with cardiologist just yest, he doesn't think it's my pulse, he thinks it's my blood pressure dropping suddenly. I did mention vertigo to him yest but he is still sticking to BP theory for now. So frustrating and I'm sorry it's not much help for you. What symptoms have u got and have the drs come up with a course of action? Hope u find a solution soon x
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  • What are they suggesting doing next MicheB?

    Mine is definitely vertigo linked. Has been going on since January but only diagnosed as vertigo in September when it got really bad. I get it more when working on computers, in supermarkets and in the dark. Running was the thing that made it better and I even managed to get around a 50 mile ultra at start of October. However last week I struggled my way around Beachy Head marathon and have been questioning if running is actually helping or not.

    Do you get any similar symptoms when not running or only when you run?

    I have been to an ENT clinic and am now being referred for a hearing test and to see an otologist (balance expert), although expect that will take months.

  • I am 67 female and have been running for about 25 years. I love it but about 5 years ago, I started to have dizzy spells and feeling nauseous after about 3 miles. My GP diagnosed Labyrinthitis and prescribed medication. No improvement!
    I have been referred to the hospital twice for heart investigations. The first time, I was given a heart monitor and while wearing it had a very bad turn but nothing untoward was detected. The second time I was practically laughed out of the place by the heart consultant.
    But still it continues and it really spoils my runs. Most of the time, I recover after about 5-10 minutes but the dizziness can come back. Most of my friends tell me to give up running!
    Can anyone help?0
  • I have experienced this a couple of times, and I have low blood pressure which I had thought may be part of the issue. It happens sometimes almost immediately, but then goes away after a mile or so and other times it can just come on during a run. I seen a GP and she advised that although I did have low blood pressure - it wasn't dangerously low and I shouldn't be concerned. She did advise that dizziness can happen if you have not eaten for a while / taken on enough energy and also if not properly hydrated. I thought I was good at monitoring both. I have been ok for my last few runs but will keep following this thread. 
  • Ive had the same problem for 16 years at 10km during a 15km run. No diagnosis. It doesn't happen on the treadmill either. I was on a benzodiazepine for all this time but the last 5 years it hasn't worked. Diet, histamine and vertigo optokinetic treatment doesn't work. Whatever the root cause, it's mostly ocular perception running outside (peripheral and horizon input) that gets thrown off. I wish there was a cure. But if there are brain lesions on the 8th cranial nerve there's not much to be done. I wish VRT worked but I've been searching so hard for a cure and haven't found it. Last year April to June my Meds worked better. This year I'm progressively worse and I do sprint distance triathlon. 
    I'll keep looking for an answer. 
  • I also have this dizziness and feeling faint problem when I run races, but not when swimming or cycling. Despite varous tests all my GP can suggest is that I try to put on weight, drink more water and add salt to my food. I have been a competeitive runner for 42 years and the dizziness only started this year. I have carried a small bag of crushed sugar and salt to take when I feel faint but this does not help. Splashing cold water over my face helps a little bit but stopping is the only option (which is not what I want to do in a race!).
  • @micheb I have the exact same issue. ONLY when I run outside do I get vertigo. I used to think it was labrynthitis but again it’s only when I run outside and getting progressively worse and I have no answers. I have seen an ENT— my dad is an ENT and he doesn’t know either. It’s so frustrating and I’m afraid that it’s going to be a larger issue. Have you found anything out?? 
  • I came onto this website for the reasons everyone is outlining above ...dizziness and running .it's all very similar ...just when outside ..just when I stop and not when cycling or walking . I too have had my heart checked and also a nasal spray with no improvement.however I know that my Tyrosine levels are extremely low just now and this may not be related at all but I was wondering if any of you have had a nutritional screen to see if your deficient in any nutrient or amino acid ...such as iron or magnesium? It might be worth checking as you all seem to have run in the past without problems and if nothing has altered perhaps your body chemistry has ? Just my thoughts as a lay person.   
  • <blockquote class="Quote"><div>
    </div><div>Hi, I think I’m suffering similar symptoms to you guys. Had the problem for 3 years now. I used to be able to run 10k in 37 minutes with no issues. I then trained for London marathon which I did in 3 & half hours, but ever since then I’ve struggled to complete a 10k & sometimes 5k even! Just raced in a 4 mile race tonight. Started with first 5k at 3:40 pace, then got rising feeling, struggle to breathe but not wheezing & had to stop 4/5 times before struggling over finish. Typical of my races now. If try to run through just feel dizzy. Tend to start feeling really tired & drop off in pace just before feeling happens.  Had ecg but nothing wrong with heart. Have low blood pressure - standing of around 45. Heart rate monitor shows my rate never really going over 160. Gp not really interested in helping as nothing otherwise wrong. Really getting me down. Can anyone offer anything as going to quit otherwise?</div><div>
  • You need to do an analysis of allergies. Maybe it's something else. I have not heard of this before
  • Hi there. I too have the same symptoms for about 18mths now. Happens after around 300m now. Sometimes I can control the feeling sometimes its so bad I almost collapse..
    But only ever outside. I can run as long as I feel like on a treadmil.
    Have done heart and brain scans but nothing obvious.
    Have just started Chiro and have found my spine all twisted epecially my neck but unsure if it can be sorted.
    Has anyone found answers. Seems so many common symptoms.
    Really want to resolve soon as I love running outside..
  • Hi Guys, has anyone found a solution for this? I get exactly the same thing... Running & Cycling outdoors gives me light headed and when really bad I feel like I am going to be sick. I cycle indoors & run on a treadmill and it doesn't happen. I had to stop running for about 12 months due to this. RECENTLY though it seems to be getting better.
    So what I have found is
    1. I try to drink at least 4L of water everyday AND I am stickler for scratching my ears with anything I can get in there (I know, not good) well anyways, since I have STOPPED this, and upped my water intake, that is when I have noticed a difference.
    3 weeks ago - 10km Wolf Run on a Sunday (300m in, I had the dizziness and basically had to walk 80% of the 10km.. The Saturday before the run I drank barley any water.
    Thursday just gone, 9km run NO Dizziness and Sunday just gone (yesterday) 10km done with minimal dizziness (got it after rounding a corner but it sorted itself out again).
    I don't know if its the hydration or the ear thing but something has definitely changed recently (thank goodness) because I was really getting down about it...
    I Have a 5km Run tomorrow & Friday and a10km trail run on Sunday so will see how I get on.
  • Jadaemba, glad to see you have made some progress. I have been st struggling with this for over a year and its quite annoying. I have even been seeing a chiro who specializes in vertigo and they cant figure it out.
    I will be giving your suggestions a go and see if that helps. Just wish I knew what triggered it in the first place.
  • Hi Guys 
    Have had this problem with the last 2 years. I used to love to run but was getting dizzy and feeling nauseous about 20 minutes into the run.
    I now have started having the same problem when I walk fast. When I get to about 4k I’m totally dizzy and nauseous. This lasts about 15/20 minutes after stopping.
    This only happens when I’m outside. 
    I thought it might be due to the fact that I drink a lot of water....about 4/5 ltrs a day. I tried drinking less for a few days but it made no difference.
    This is so frustrating...I’m now have had to stop walking on my own.
    Doctor doesn’t seem to know what the problem is and I can’t pinpoint any change in my life that would have triggered this.
    Hope over time it will sort itself.....fingers crossed 😀
  • It's pretty heartbreaking to read this thread and realize that none of us have managed to discover a cure. I used to run 6-10km, 3 times a week. 2 years ago I started experiencing dizziness and nausea on outdoor runs, during every 1 in 10 of my runs. 2 and 1/2 years later, it has progressed to happening every single time I run, after approx.15-20mins of running. If I turn my head or look around whilst running, I instantly get dizzy. It impossible to run through it, as if I don't immediately stop them I'm likely to fall over and vomit. The sensation sometimes lasts for a few minutes, and sometimes for much longer. It never happens on a treadmill, but it occasionally happens when I'm biking outdoors. I've had every test imaginable done - ENT tests, a stress ECHO, blood tests, cat scan, an MRI... and nothing has been detected. I tried several weeks of vestibular rehab therapy and that didn't work, and I have also tried things like Dramamine (motion sickness tablets) and essential oils. I drink a lot of water and some food before running, but it doesn't help. Things that make it much worse are dim lighting (ie. running at dusk), changes in the light (ie. running in and out of shadows), and looking around me when I run.
    It's really getting me down because I love(d) to run and now it's just a constant battle not to get stranded 3 miles from home or to end up on the floor with the world spinning around me. I'd try anything to make it go away, but I feel like there's nothing left I can try. I have always hoped it would eventually just go away by itself, but for 2.5yrs it's actually just been getting worse. I'm so upset about it :(
  • Could it be cervical vertigo perhaps?
  • I have been searching the web for months trying to find anything on dizziness while running. I'm happy to have found this, sad you all are experiencing it. I have had this same problem with running outside for about 2 years now. @NaomiAlicia or anyone else, do you have any updates on what can help? Someone online suggested I put Himalayan pink salt in my water and take electrolytes. I'm hesitant to try it because I don't want to get stuck on the side of the road alone again throwing up and feeling to dizzy to walk (kind of embarrassing).
  • I sometimes get it on longer runs, after 20km. It's usually short-lived. I've put it down to underfueling before and during. Is there a pattern to your dizziness? 
  • Random user here who happened upon this forum by accident and thought she would add her two cents! I’ve had unexplained dizziness pretty much constantly now for the past five years, initially diagnosed as labyrinthitis and then atypical migraine. Nothing has worked and all of my tests have been negative/normal. I have stopped running because I just couldn’t cope with all of the visual stimuli. However, last week I discovered an article on something called PPPD (Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness) and I’m about to start vestibular rehab and Sertraline (Zoloft) to see if they do anything. For me, PPPD ticks all my boxes. Maybe it will be the same for some of you guys?
  • Okay the same thing has been going on with me. I have been a cross country runner for the past 4 years in high school and I was even running before that, and I would be able to run 6 miles no problem. Just this past year I have started having problems. Every time I run I get this crazy dizziness that is just so overbearing that I have to stop running. When I run on treadmills I have absolutely no problem, but when I run outside it happens almost every time. i have found that eating before my runs makes it a little bit better but still not great. I have done a treadmill heart test, but of course it didn't happen because I was inside on a treadmill! So frustrating that there is no solution. I guess I'm just going to have to live with it.
  • Same thing has been going on with me!! It started last year, had to pull out of events as I couldn't even run 1km without it happening THEN it literally just disappeared in September 2018, I was so happy, I have been running since and signed up to Malvern hills half in 2 weeks and the Sydney Marathon in September........... Its COME BACK!!!! Am currently trying to get the GP to take it serious enough to get to the bottom of it but 4 Dr appointments and still no luck!! I have had vertigo tablets, they didn't help, I have been to the Chiropractor, that didn't help (doesn't believe its vertigo). Last visit the Dr said perhaps Anxiety so gave me tablets (I dont want to take these so have another appointment tomorrow).
    I find that when it happens (only exercising outdoors, treadmill and exercise bike is fine) when I tilt my head to the side, its almost as if I can feel my brain swishing around in my head and am really off balance.
    I can't believe that this is something normal that we should all have to live with, there HAS To be a reason.
    So I have no Thyroid and take Levothyroxin, I also take Calcium, Magnesium and Activated Vitamin D as I have no Parathyroid glands.

    Does anyone else have the same that is suffering with this?
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