IF Mo Farah meets the British public's expectations in August, he will be standing on top of the podium singing God Save The Queen with the nation's first Olympic 10,000m gold medal hanging around his neck.

The pressure to outperform his east African rivals on home soil might have reduced many to tears by now but he is one tough nut. He is also across the other side of the world, getting fitter and faster, and can't hear what is being said about him. Moreover, he doesn't want to know.

Last week the Somali-born Briton unpacked his suitcase in Park City, Utah (elevation 7000 feet), where he and his training partner, Galen Rupp, and their coach, Alberto Salazar, have gone for another pre-Olympic high-altitude training camp. Farah will remain there until the British Olympic trials in Birmingham from June 22 to 24.

A couple of days before Christmas he also left his family, flying out to Kenya for five weeks of high-altitude running in the Great Rift Valley. Distractions – be it his worthy charity work or indulging his love of football – are not allowed. There's a constant voice in his head telling him he must make sacrifices if he wishes to be Olympic champion. In fact, before he was married, his manager, Ricky Simms, suggested he live with some of the Kenyan athletes he managed to experience their lifestyle.

"Ricky said 'learn from these guys'," he remembers. "I lived with them for a year. They eat, sleep and train, they don't have late nights. They watch what they eat. They sleep early. I just thought if I am going to beat these guys one day I am going to have to change my lifestyle."

While his wife, Tania, pregnant with twins, and daughter Rihanna remain in Portland, Oregon, where the family moved this year, Farah has committed himself to Salazar and his coaching.

"Obviously there's a lot of hype because the Olympics only come around once every four years and we have got it right in our hometown," he told the Sunday Herald last week in Eugene, also in Oregon, just before the Prefontaine Classic athletics meeting. "And, it's all going up now because football is over. But I am away from all that and I just put my head down and enjoy what I am doing. As an athlete I want to do as well as I can. As long as you don't put a lot of pressure on yourself you can keep away from everything."

It was 18 months ago that Farah joined up with Salazar, the three-time New York marathon winner, looking for the edge which could put him into medal contention at the highest level. Evidence that he did the right thing is plentiful.

At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Farah took the 10,000m silver medal after narrowly losing a sprint down the home straight to Ethiopia's Ibrahim Jeilan. Dissatisfied, he came back seven days later to win the 5000m gold medal.

This year his meteoric rise has continued. Last weekend he destroyed a quality 5000m field at the "Pre" meeting in a world-leading mark of 12:56.98. Among the vanquished were some of the Kenyan runners he will likely face in London, Rupp, who has also developed into a contender, as well as Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, a three-time Olympic champion.

"I am definitely there," the 28-year-old says. "I'm winning races. I don't want to overcook it. Alberto is the boss. He tells us what to do. He's been there himself so he understands what an athlete has to do. It's nice to have a coach like that, where you can rely on him rather than someone else who hasn't been to a world championships or an Olympics.

"Last year what really changed for me was this [Prefontaine] meet. This was my breakthrough. Running a British and European 10,000m record [26:46.57] and getting the win was a massive thing for me. I carried that all the way through the 2011 season."

As pleased as he was for his own performance last Saturday, he was thrilled with Rupp's third-place finish in a personal best of 12:58.90. The pair have been virtually inseparable training partners.

"Me and Galen clicked from the start. I really like him. We have got on so well together," he says. "I am really happy that he went under 13 minutes for the first time. This track is pretty famous and no American has ever gone under 13 in Hayward Field. It's nice for him to do that."

Rupp was a six-time NCAA champion at the University of Oregon so when he accompanied Farah on a lap of honour they received a wonderful ovation from the 12,850 spectators. But once the Londoner had left the stadium and headed back to Portland 90 minutes away he could sink back into anonymity.

"Nobody recognises me there [in Portland]. I just walk down the street with my family, go out for coffee, or for lunch, I just do a normal routine," he says. "When I get back to the UK a lot of people know who I am. You walk up the street, you sign some autographs, people want you to do interviews. The good thing is I am away from all of that."

Like many athletes in an Olympic year Farah just wants to keep focused, even if it means being away from family and friends. But ask him what he misses most, being away from Britain, and the answer escapes his lips before the question is complete.

"Football," he declares. "I am a big Arsenal fan. I love going to the games. That's something I miss.

"As an athlete you need to do what you need to do. Later on when you finish your career you can fall back on whatever you missed. That's what I miss, just picking up a newspaper and seeing what's going on. In the US it's very different."

After the 2011 season ended, Farah took his family to Somalia to show them his birthplace. The poverty and desperation they witnessed moved them so much they decided to form the Mo Farah Foundation, a non-profit agency. Already the foundation has started distributing food, establishing water supply systems, building medical clinics and supporting education in some of the hardest-hit regions of the country.

Proudly he points to September 1 on his calendar. That's when they are hosting a fund-raising dinner at London's Intercontinental Hotel called "The Night of Champions" with special guests including Steve Cram, Paula Radcliffe and Sir Steve Redgrave.

"The famine in Africa has done a lot of damage," he says. "Me and my wife want to give something back. What really touched me was the kids. My daughter gets anything she wants – not that I spoil her – but she is likely to grow up in that environment. There are kids there who have nothing. So we are trying to raise as much money as possible to change lives."

Although he is the reigning world 5000m champion Farah is undecided on whether he will run both the 5000m and 10,000m at the Olympics. Of course, he favours the longer race. "I want to concentrate on one event," he says. "I am definitely going to give the 10,000m 110%, and then, later on, if my body allows me and I feel good, then I will come out [for the 5000m]. But I am not really thinking I want to do the double.

"For me I have never had an Olympic medal, never been in an Olympic final, so the first step is make sure you are in the final. The 10,000m is a straight final, which is a good thing, and don't even think about anything else."

Salazar believes the competition in London will be even more formidable than at the world championships in Daegu last year. Ethiopia and Kenya will send three very capable runners.

Wilson Kiprop won the Kenyan 10,000m trials, which were held in Eugene the night before Farah's superb 5000m, and he immediately warned their foreign rivals that the Kenyan trio may use team tactics to ensure victory.

Despite their glorious competitive record a Kenyan man hasn't won the Olympic gold in 44 years.

Bekele is slowly racing himself into shape following a debilitating calf injury, but Farah, though fully aware he is favourite, looks at things in a practical way.

"Anything can happen. That's our sport," he says. "You could be the favourite and someone comes out and it could be their day. At the same time when you train you think about it and you keep training and that makes you want more. You are hungrier and want more.

"I think that's why I came out a lot stronger in the 5000m in Daegu because I wanted it more than anyone else, because I came so close to winning the 10,000m."

Farah wants more than anything to win the Olympic gold medal for Britain. Then he can move on to a regular life of parenting, combating world hunger and cheering on Arsenal.