Building a lab
There are a few guides to building a lab in this book.
Mini lab for children
The first lab guide helps you set up a very small and simple lab consisting of a domain controller and a few workstations. The goal is to practice credential relaying using Responder and other fun tools.
Big boy labs for big boys
I have added an article for building a much bigger lab using ESXi and automating a lot of it with Vagrant. If you feel confident, brave and have a lot of time, go for this. It requires fundamental knowledge of setting up Active Directory and configuring Windows machines. It could be used as a companion lab for MCSA and MCSE certifications.
I've been playing with AutomatedLab for a while using Hyper-V. More to come!