The answers to your questions and more can be found on The Center for High
Altitude Training at Northern Arizona University web site. The Center for
High Altitude Training is an official US Olympic Training Site.
"How much of an increase in performance can take place?
Generally, sport scientists place the increase in performance gained from
altitude training in the 3-5% range.
How long does it usually take in order to adjust to a higher altitude?
Generally speaking, as elevation increases, the time for acclimatization to
occur is also increased. It takes about 2 weeks to acclimatize to altitudes
of 2000 to 2500 meters (6500 to 8200 feet) ...
In order to capitalize on the relevant metabolic and cardiovascular
adaptations, a stay of at least 2 weeks is usually recommended (although
more recent research is pointing toward the need to stay closer to 4 weeks
in order to maximize red cell mass).
Does everyone respond the same to altitude?
No - responses to altitude are extremely individual."
There are some, such as the DistanceCoach.com web site, that state that
"live high and train low" or living at high altitude and training at low
altitude, is the route to go.
"Studies have found that living at high altitude and training at low
altitude (live high/train low) leads to increased performance, increased
red blood cell mass and increased VO2 max."
The article "Altitude Training for Sea-Level Competition" by A Baker and
W G Hopkins, covers how long the effect lasts, and the "live high and
train low" effect.
"The extra red blood cells and the enhancement of performance are
probably lost by 2-3 months after return from altitude. Living and
training at altitude is less effective than living at altitude and
training near sea level, because the lack of oxygen at altitude results
in detraining through reduction in intensity of training."
You will want to read the above referenced pages in detail for more on
how to adapt to altitude, whether one will respond to high altitude
training, if one would benefit from taking iron supplements before
going to altitude, etc.
So, it looks the best approach might be to live, and possibly do some
light training, at an altitude of 6500 to 8200 feet for 2 to 4 weeks,
and then back to Corpus Christi for intensive training, just prior to
an event. There are lots of places in Colorado that are in that
If you need any clarification, please feel free to ask.
Google search on: "high altitude training"
Google search on: "high altitude training" loss
Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher