A comprehensive understanding of nanotube materials requires the ability to link different carbon nanotube models, which were developed to work at different length scales. Here we describe the mapping of a molecular dynamics (MD) model for single-wall carbon nanotubes onto a wormlike chain. This mapping employs a mode analysis of the bending fluctuations of the nanotube, similar to those used in experiments . The essence of this mapping is to find an appropriate bending stiffness for the wormlike cha in in order to represent the nanotube on a coarsened scale. We find that this mapping will only work well, if the wavelength probing the nanotube stiffness is sufficiently large. For single-wall (9,9) armchair nanotubes vibration modes with node distances of 3 nm underestimate the long wavelength limit of the bending constant by about 50%. This mismatch tends to increase for tubes with larger radii.