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Stretching cold muscles before you run is beneficial, as you are stretching the muscles which are going to be used while you run and thus would be subjected to a much greater force of impact.
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Stretching allows more flexibility in your muscles. period. The more often you stretch, the more toned your muscles will be, and they will, in general, respond more favorably in all physical activity. If you stretch lightly before you run, realizing your muscles are cold, then it can
be beneficial. The key is to listen
to your body. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. Personally, I don't stretch my cold muscles, but this comes from years and years of listening to my body and perfecting my routine.
And this is the key for the way you run as well. Pay attention to how you are striking the ground. Trust me, you will be able to tell if you heel-strike or not. If this is still a little ambiguous, pay attention to your legs. Heel-strikers tend to have more problems with their knees because they naturally hyper-extend the joint if they are running hard (in order to actually allow the heel to strike first). In the beginning literally talk to yourself in your head, "ball first, ball first" (meaning ball of your foot) or "toes first, toes first", and it will feel really awkward to strike anywhere but the heel first, but it will help.
You don't (necessarily) need a running coach. You just need to be aware of what works for your body. Run consciously until you run (correctly) from habit. You will know it is correct (for you) based on how your body responds.