Paula Radcliffe insists her career is not over after the foot surgery that ruled her out of London 2012.
The world record holder, 38, has raced only one marathon since 2009, but hopes to return to action in 2013.
April's London Marathon could come too soon, with a 10K in the spring and a marathon later in the year more likely.
"I'm kind of at that crossroads coming off a big surgery and I desperately don't want my career to be finished," she told BBC Sport.
Radcliffe in October as UK Athletics do not see her as a genuine Olympic medal contender in Rio 2016.
She was forced to pull out with a foot injury on the eve of this summer's Olympics, ending her hopes of running in front of a home crowd after suffering heartbreak in previous Games.
After having surgery in California in August, Radcliffe is now working her way back to fitness.
"It's going in the right direction," she said. "I'm staying really positive and the goal is to be back running by Christmas and building up to racing next year."
Radcliffe added: "I would love to be in London 10 years on from setting the world record there, but I think that is going to be very close and I'm more likely looking at a 10K race or half-marathon in the spring, building up to a marathon in the autumn."
The Briton described missing a home Olympics as "definitely the hardest time ever in my career" and revealed that she watched the marathon "in a hotel room, crying".
"Happening once in an Olympics is bad luck, happening twice, happening three times, broke my heart," she said.
Asked why she was so determined to continue, Radcliffe, who turns 39 later this month, said: "I think it's important for me and it's important for my pride.
"I'll settle for being able to run around with the children and play around with them at the moment, but definitely the competitive side of me is still slogging away hard cross-training and doing all of the rehab exercises.
"I want to be able to keep running in 10 years for the fun of it and for the pleasure, but I want to be able to finish a race."