What I normally do is, yes, turn on the handset and use it normally (not pound the battery to oblivion), until it dies. Next, charge it up while it is off via USB connected to a computer. This way usually charges it slower, and doesn't heat up the battery as much. Then, turn it on and use it normally again until it dies. Lastly, charge it up however you want to, while it is on, to full. Then you should be set.
This needs to be done every 6 or so months and any time you get a new ROM on it.
Part kitty... part fae...